Tue 22 Nov, 2022

Gender Recognition Reforms are now within reach for Scotland say the Scottish Greens who have hailed the vital work of a parliamentary committee in scrutinising proposed amendments as “history making.”

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill has been the intense focus of the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee. It has been one of the most scrutinised Bills in the history of the Scottish Parliament, being first discussed over 5 years ago.

The draft legislation, lodged in March this year by Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, has been the subject of months of scrutiny and evidence gathering by the Committee. At the end of this Stage One process, the principles of the Bill were supported by more than two thirds of MSPs on October 27.

Over 100 amendments have since been considered at Stage Two, which was completed in Committee today, allowing preparations to be made for one further stage and a final vote. 

But the process has also faced attempts to “undermine trans rights and democracy” under a wave of “mistruths and disinformation” being peddled by “dog whistling” opponents of reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and some who want to see the Act repealed completely.

Maggie Chapman MSP, Scottish Greens equalities and human rights spokesperson, said she was pleased that the Bill was a vital step closer to delivering the reforms that trans people had been waiting so long for.

Maggie Chapman MSP said:

“This is for those who have waited so long - too long - to be given the chance to live their lives as they choose to be recognised, but it is also for all those parliamentary colleagues who have faced down mistruths and disinformation.

“The consultations and committee scrutiny of the Bill have been subjected to reckless scaremongering, ill informed innuendo and the most dangerous mistruths designed to distract people from the real issue at stake - the right of individuals to be recognised in law as who they really are.

“It is to this parliament’s credit that such crude and frankly dog whistle attempts to undermine trans rights and democracy have failed because of the robust systems and structures that we have in place to represent all of our citizens, including some of the most marginalised. 

“Self identification is a crucial reform, one that will take much of the stress and trauma out of what trans people tell us is currently an invasive and dehumanising experience. And young trans people aged 16 and 17 years old will also be able to benefit from these reforms.

“The committee has worked through Stages one and two with great focus and integrity, and I am confident that the Bill will make history when it passes by ensuring Scotland treats the trans community as equals, something we should all aspire too.” 

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