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Trans Pride Scotland in Edinburgh on Sat 31st March

Trans Pride Scotland logoScotlands first ever Trans Pride event is taking place in Edinburgh on Trans Day of Visibility – Saturday 31st March 2018!

Hundreds of trans people and their allies will gather at the City Chambers on the Royal Mile at 12 noon, march proudly down the Royal Mile for speeches outside the Scottish Parliament, and then converge on the John McIntyre Conference Centre for an afternoon of workshops and socialising! Come along and join in!

Open to all trans people, including non-binary people, and their friends, families and allies.

Please register as attending to receive full information updates by email from Trans Pride Scotland.

Trans Pride Scotland is about trans people being visible and speaking out. Please ensure any banners you bring for the march are hand-made and not professionally printed in order to ensure everyone has a equal voice. While you are welcome to march representing voluntary sector community groups, please do not march with banners advertising commercial businesses, political parties or public sector bodies.

More information can be found on the Trans Pride Scotland website – www.transpridescotland.org

UK Gov consultation on outdated Gender Recognition Act is a positive step forward for society

Support self-declaration for legal gender recognition

The Scottish Trans Alliance welcomes the UK Government’s announcement of a consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in England and Wales. The UK Government’s promise to consult on reform follows over two years of focused campaigning from transgender equality groups together with pressure from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee.

The Scottish Government has already committed to reform gender recognition law in line with international best practice and has promised to consult on the details at the end of the summer. Like marriage law, gender recognition law is devolved and progress in Scotland positively influences progress in England.

The UK Government’s decision to consult in the autumn on allowing trans people to change the gender on their birth certificates by self-declaration, without having to provide intrusive psychiatric reports and other onerous evidence, is positive step forward for society. It will uphold transgender people’s privacy and dignity and also ensure that their pensions, insurance policies, civil partnerships and marriages are all administered correctly and smoothly. Currently, birth certificates are much harder to change than all other types of identity documents and records so transgender people are often left in limbo with the gender on their birth certificate contradicting all their other official paperwork.

For over 20 years, transgender people in the UK have already been able to change the gender on their passports, driving licences, medical records and employment records by self-declaration at the start of their transitions. It makes no sense to continue to treat birth certificates differently from these other forms of identification and the proposed reform to remove this unfair anomaly is long overdue.

Making it easier to change the gender on birth certificates will not affect how transgender people access single-sex services because they can already use the self-declared gender recorded on their passports and driving licences as identification. Many trans women early in their transitions already regularly use women’s services and facilities without any problems.

Reform of the Gender Recognition Act will not affect the process for accessing NHS gender reassignment services. Medical assessments and criteria for approval to receive NHS hormones and surgeries will remain unchanged.

Sports governing bodies are legally permitted to restrict participation of trans people, even once they have received legal gender recognition, if this is necessary to ensure fair and safe competition. So self-declaration does not create any additional challenges for competitive sports.

There is no evidence to suggest people will falsely change their gender on their official documents. This has not been a problem within any of the existing gender self-declaration processes in the UK or Ireland. It is a serious criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment, to make a false statement on a legal statutory declaration so this provides sufficient protection.

Notes:

1. The Scottish Trans Alliance is Scotland’s national transgender equality and human rights project and is based within the Equality Network, a national charity working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights in Scotland.

2. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and also the states of Oregon and California in America all have more inclusive gender recognition procedures than the UK. International best practice is to allow gender recognition through self-declaration, to provide a gender neutral option for non-binary trans people who do not identify solely as men or women, and to allow access to gender recognition for young trans people who have transitioned with their parents’ consent.

3. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee’s Inquiry into Transgender Equality published its report in January 2016 recommending reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The Scottish Trans Alliance was one of the groups that submitted written and oral evidence to the Inquiry.

Unveiling our new brand…

We unveiled our new brand identity at the Equality Network Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh last night, 28 February 2017. The launch of the new brand coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Equality Network and the 10th anniversary of the Equality Network establishing the Scottish Trans Alliance project.

 

Scottish Trans - Creating change together - Trans equality in Scotland

The Equality Network’s role is to achieve real and lasting change for LGBTI equality in Scotland, by working together with diverse LGBTI people across Scotland. At the core of the Equality Network’s identity is therefore a new iconic mark. It is a symbol that represents thousands of voices – being heard, being included, and demanding change. It’s the voice of community, change and equality.

The voice icon is an integral part of the brand, appearing in all Equality Network materials and campaigns. The new Equality Network logo retains a human element, but its clear and simple design is a move away from the previous complex logo.

Equality Network logo

Tim Hopkins, Director of Equality Network, said:

“We are pleased to unveil the new Equality Network brand identity. Our new brand reflects our position as a go-to organisation for LGBTI equality in Scotland—active, confident and inclusive. We have chosen a new tagline that clearly sums up what the Equality Network does: “Creating change together“. We are all about getting real change for LGBTI equality in Scotland, by empowering LGBTI people across Scotland and working in partnership.”

In parallel a new identity and tagline has been created for the Scottish Trans Alliance, to help promote our position as Scotland’s centre of expertise on trans issues.

Scottish Trans logo

The new Equality Network and Scottish Trans brand identities have been developed by Glasgow-based Haiwyre Design Ltd. The new brand will be rolled out in a phased approach over the next few months. As part of the brand project, we have already started work on re-developing our two websites. We expect to launch the brand new websites later this year.

The full Equality Network and Scottish Trans brand guidelines will soon be available. Please don’t download the logos from the website, as the quality will be poor. Get in touch if you’d like to request permission to use our logo.

To find our more contact our Communications Officer Jenni Nuppula on press@equality-network.org or 0131 467 6039.

Ask your MSPs to support gender X passports for people who do not identify as men or women

We’re delighted that Alison Johnstone MSP has submitted the following motion in the Scottish Parliament supporting non-gendered passports for non-binary people:

Motion S4M-12970: Alison Johnstone, Lothian, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 21/04/2015
Passports for People who do not Associate with a Particular Gender
That the Parliament recognises that the UK Parliament’s early day motion number 47 relating to the provision of passports to people who do not associate with a particular gender, accumulated 80 signatures; understands the importance to transgender people who are non-binary, and therefore do not identify as male or female, of having passports that reflect their true identity; notes that non-binary people have called on the Labour and Conservative parties to comment on this issue in their manifestos; recognises that a number of other jurisdictions, including Australia and New Zealand, provide their citizens with passports bearing a gender marker other than M or F; believes that, like other trans people, non-binary people have the right to have their gender identity recognised and should therefore be able to obtain passports that reflect the fact that they do not identify as male or female, and urges the next UK Government to consider whether an additional gender marker should be made available on British passports.

Several MSPs have already signed as supporting the motion. It’s really important to raise visibility of non-binary issues so please send a quick email to your local MSPs asking them to sign in support (you can find their contact details at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps.aspx).

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 Trans 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 Trans 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…]

Volunteer with us at Pride Glasgow

Pride Scotia 2012

The Equality Network and Scottish Trans Alliance will once again be taking part in Pride Glasgow on Saturday 10th August. As well as having a presence in the Pride Parade we’ll be represented in the Pride Market.

The parade will assemble from 11am on Glasgow Green and set off at 12pm the parade leaves Glasgow Green the full route can be found here.

We’re looking for enthusiastic people to help out on the day and support our work for trans equality. If you’d like to help make a difference please volunteer online and we will be in touch shortly.

Thanks in advance for your support.