The Scottish Transgender Alliance (STA) and Equality Network are calling for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
We are calling for the Scottish Government to recognise trans people’s right to self-determination. We know that achieving these calls will not resolve all trans equality and human rights issues – there is other work to be done. These three calls are key strategic priorities and are all within the power of the Scottish Government to act upon.
Three calls for trans equality:
1. Introduce legal recognition for people who do not identify as men or women
The law should be improved to provide legal recognition and identity documents to people who identify as other than men or women. No one should be forced to have a gender listed on their birth certificate or passport which does not correspond to how they actually live and identify. Many countries already legally recognise that some people do not identify as men or women and provide them with legal documents, such as birth certificates and passports, which respect their non-binary gender. (Having a non-binary gender identity is not the same as being a physically intersex person.)
2. Remove the psychiatric diagnosis requirement from legal gender recognition
Trans people can change their gender on their passports and other day-to-day documents without having to see a psychiatrist. However, the process to change legal gender on a birth certificate requires an applicant to receive a psychiatric diagnosis and to provide a detailed psychiatric report about their life history, current circumstances and identity in order to prove that diagnosis. This unnecessary and intrusive requirement undermines the personal autonomy of trans people because it places psychiatrists into the inappropriate role of gatekeepers to legal rights. Psychiatry should be about helping people improve their mental health and not about deciding which trans people merit access to their human rights.
3. Reduce the age at which people can get legal recognition of the gender they live as
Currently a young person under the age of 18 cannot apply for a gender recognition certificate to correct the gender listed on their birth certificate. This undermines their self-esteem, violates their privacy and exposes them to discrimination. Significant numbers of young people are living successfully in a new gender with the full support of their parents and school teachers. Although they could easily satisfy all of the conditions required to receive gender recognition young people are discriminated against because of their age.