Minister to give update on Gender Recognition Reform Bill

The Bill will reduce the time applicants need to live in their acquired gender and removes current medical requirements.

Shona Robison to give Scottish Parliament update on Gender Recognition Reform Bill iStock
Trans people must currently live in their acquired gender for two years.

An update on legislation that would change the process for people applying for gender recognition will be delivered to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

A statement on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill is due to be made by minister Shona Robison in the afternoon.

The Bill will reduce the time applicants for gender recognition need to have lived in their acquired gender and removes current medical requirements.

Trans people must currently live in their acquired gender for two years and have a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC).

Detractors say making it easier for transgender people to self-identify their own gender could endanger women and girls.

The Scottish Conservatives said they recognise the need for reform but that “women’s rights must be paramount”.

The SNP-Scottish Green Government pledged to introduce the legislation which ministers say will improve the lives of trans people and ensure they do not have to go through a “degrading” process to be legally recognised in their gender.

In January, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says “more detailed consideration is needed” before any changes are made to the Gender Recognition Act – despite two public consultations from the Scottish Government on the subject.

Work on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, delaying it until after the May 2021 election.

Ahead of the statement, Scottish Conservative MSP Megan Gallacher said: “Women’s rights must be paramount in the debate over GRA reform.

“We recognise the case for improving the system and we will constructively scrutinise the Government’s proposals when they come forward.

“However, we will also be clear that any improvements to the process for trans people must not come at the expense of women’s rights or women’s safety.

“We hope the Government will listen and respect the views of women who feel very strongly that their rights may be eroded if the SNP get this legislation wrong.”