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Denmark Leads Europe on Gender Recognition

The Danish Parliament has passed the most progressive gender recognition legislation in Danish FlagEurope. The new law will enable people to have the gender they identify as legally recognised without any requirement for them to have a diagnosis or have undergone medical treatment.

Unfortunately applicants will have to be at least 18 years old to access gender recognition but the only other requirement is a six month waiting period between making an application and receiving gender recognition.

It is very encouraging to see European gender recognition legislation which much more closely matches Transgender Europe’s best practice check-list. Malta currently has a similar law progressing through Parliament.

Argentina continues to have the world’s most progressive gender recognition law, it doesn’t have a waiting period and enables people under 16 to have their gender recognised with additional requirements.

 

Success – Scotland removes spousal veto from equal marriage bill

In a major step forward for trans equality in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee today passed an amendment to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill removing the spousal veto on gender recognition.

The amendment, which was proposed by the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance, and submitted by Linda Fabiani MSP, means trans people who married in Scotland will be able to have their gender legally recognized without having to get the consent of their spouse.

Without the amendment Scotland’s equal marriage bill would not have delivered genuine marriage equality for trans people. The spousal veto would have enabled the husband or wife of a trans person to deny their partner the right to have the gender they live as recognized in law.

This aspect of the Bill rightly attracted a great deal of criticism from trans people who felt it undermined their personal autonomy.

It is our strong view that legal gender recognition is a human right that should not be able to be vetoed by another person.

Many spouses of trans people were also greatly opposed to the spousal veto and objected to the suggestion they should have control over a fundamental aspect of their partner’s identity.

We have worked hard to ensure our amendment to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill achieves a fair balance of rights between the trans and non-trans spouse.

Previously as well as having the right to an non-contestable divorce, the non-trans spouse was also able to block their partner’s gender recognition. The Bill now redresses this balance by ensuring the trans spouse can obtain gender recognition while continuing to provide their partner with the right to get a divorce if they are not happy staying in the marriage.

As transgender equality is developing across Europe an increasing number of countries are removing divorce requirements from their laws and treating gender recognition as a purely individualized process.

Of the 10 European Countries who have introduced same sex marriage none, apart from England and Wales, have a spousal veto on gender recognition.

We are delighted the Scottish Parliament has taken this opportunity to develop our laws in line with best practice and maintain Scotland’s reputation as a leader on trans equality. Because gender recognition is provided by the UK-wide Gender Recognition Panel (GRP) the Scottish Parliament cannot enact legislation which would change their procedures. If the Bill passes, trans people married in Scotland will therefore continue to apply to the GRP and, if they don’t have the consent of their spouse, will be given an interim gender recognition certificate. Our amendment will then enable them to apply to the Sheriff Court, using a straightforward administrative procedure, and receive full gender recognition.

Since we launched the Equal Marriage campaign in 2008, the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance have always been determined for trans equality to be an integral part of Scotland’s equal marriage legislation – not an afterthought. We have been eager for the Bill to be well considered and meet the needs of all LGBT people. The success of this amendment means the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill was worth waiting for – Scotland can now proudly say that it is set to introduce equal marriage.

No Spousal Veto in Scotland

Five Amendments to Secure Equal Marriage

Image of front cover of STA booklet Five Amendments to Secure Equal Marriage

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill is an historic step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in Scotland.  It has the potential to deliver equal partnership rights for trans and intersex people.  However, we have identified five improvements that need to be made in order to ensure that it does. We have therefore proposed five amendments to the Bill.  The Equal Opportunities Committee has made recommendations relating to these amendments and we hope that the Scottish Parliament will vote to support them.

To find out more about our five proposed amendments, please read our briefing.

Image highlighting five amendments are needed to secure equal marriage.

Scottish Parliament Committee recommends approval of equal marriage bill

We are very happy to report that the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee has recommended that the Parliament approves the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill at stage 1. The recommendation is in the Committee’s stage 1 report to the Parliament.

[Read more...]

New Fee Structure for Gender Recognition Panel

The Ministry of Justice is bringing in a new fee system for all tribunals including the Gender Recognition Panel. Despite our own consultation response, and that of other organisations, stating that a single system for all tribunals would have a disproportionately adverse effect on certain applicants, including trans people, the UK Government has decided to go ahead with the proposals.

If you are planning to apply for gender recognition you may wish to consider doing so before the new system comes into place on Monday 7th October.

The new system will work as follows:

Disposable Capital Test

  • This first test assesses the applicant’s disposable capital e.g. savings, investments, second homes etc
  • If an applicant has £3000 or more of disposable capital they will be required to pay the full fee – currently £140 (although this may change when this system comes into force)
  • If an applicant has under £3000 of disposable capital they will move onto the Gross Monthly Income Test

Gross Monthly Income Test

  • This second test assesses the applicant’s gross monthly income i.e. their monthly income before tax from all sources except excluded benefits
  • If an applicant’s income is below the threshold set out in the table below they will not have to pay a fee

Table

  • If an applicant’s income is over the relevant threshold set out in the table above they will be required to make a contribution towards their fee of £5 for each additional £10 income above the threshold, up to the value of the fee e.g. if an applicant has an income of £1185, an additional £100 over the relevant threshold, they will be required to pay £50 towards the fee

 

Contracts for the Provision of Gender Reassignment Surgical Services Announced

We are very pleased that the contracts providing for gender reassignment surgery to trans people in Scotland have been awarded.  [Read more...]

The STA has submitted evidence on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill

We have now submitted our evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee on the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. If you would like to read our evidence you can view it here.

California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Landmark Transgender Student Rights Bill

Although existing state law already banned discrimination based on gender identity, this new law breaks new ground in specifically ensuring that all children in California schools will be allowed to participate in the full school experience including sports, programs and activities that match their gender identity.

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/calif-governor-jerry-brown-signs-landmark-transgender-student-rights-bill/

Thousands March at Glasgow Pride Amid Protests Over Russian Anti-LGBT Abuses

News coverage of Glasgow Pride and the growing protests over the situation in Russia.

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/thousands-march-at-glasgow-pride-amid-protests-over-russias-anti-gay-law/

National Transgender Memorial Vandalised

What is believed to be the only memorial to victims of transphobic violence in the world has been vandalised in Manchester less than a month after it was dedicated.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/07/uk-national-transgender-memorial-vandalised/