The Scottish Parliament has passed reforms that will make it easier for transgender people to be “legally recognised in their lived gender”, according to the legislation.
The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill removes the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Instead, trans people can now self-identify when applying for legal recognition through a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). The Bill passed 86 to 39 votes.
Prior to this law
Prior to this legislation, a Gender Recognition Panel evaluated an application based on the production of two medical reports that proved the applicant had gender dysphoria.
Applicants were required to declare they had lived in their acquired gender for the previous two years. They had to give details of any treatment or surgery as part of their application.
If the panel was satisfied with the application, the person was then issued with a GRC.
How will it work now?
Under the new system, applicants will make an application to the Registrar General for Scotland. They will not need to include a medical diagnosis or evidence of treatment or surgery.
There is still a statutory declaration to prove they have lived in their acquired gender – but instead of the previous two year period, it is now three months. They still must declare they intend to live permanently in their acquired gender.
There is then a three-month ‘reflection period’ for the applicant, at the end of which the Registrar General will re-engage the applicant to ensure they still want to complete the application.
Whilst the minimum application age was previously 18, it is now 16.
An offence has been created for making a false application, carrying a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.
“Trans rights are not in competition with women’s rights, and as so often before, we can improve things for everyone when those discriminated against act as allies, not opponents,” said Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison ahead of the vote.
“We all support improving the experience for trans people but that should never come at the expense of the safety of women and girls, and their hard-won rights… There’s been no good explanation of why this legislation must pass in 2022 three days before Christmas when we could spend 2023 fixing its flaws. The result is a subpar, shoddy piece of legislation that is not fit to pass into law,” said Scottish Conservatives equality spokesperson Rachael Hamilton.