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Reforming the Gender Recognition Act

Since 2004 the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) has allowed trans men and trans women in the UK to change the sex listed on their birth certificates to reflect their lived identity.

While it was a very important piece of legislation at the time, trans people, along with many human rights and equality organisations, have criticised the law as being too difficult to access, and placing too much emphasis on psychiatric diagnosis and medical transition. Many other countries and states around the world have already made changes to their own laws to reflect these criticisms.

For the past 5 years, the Scottish Government has been carrying out consultations on reforming the GRA to bring it closer in-line with international standards and make it easier for trans people to change the “legal sex” on their birth certificate.

On 3 March 2022, they introduced a Bill in the Scottish Parliament which would reform the law.

These proposed changes would significantly improve the current process, and bring Scotland’s gender recognition law more in-line with the approach of many other countries in Europe like the Republic of Ireland, Malta, and Iceland.

Scottish Trans supports these reforms, and believes they will have a marked impact on the lives of trans men and women in Scotland, who currently have to spend large amounts of time and money on a difficult, bureaucratic, and unfair process just to have the way they live recognised on some of their records.

Whilst an important step forward, the reforms proposed would still see Scotland with a gender recognition law that is far from world-leading. Other countries have been significantly more ambitious in changing their laws to ensure that all trans people can be respected and recognised as who they are.

You can find the bill itself here: https://www.parliament.scot/bills-and-laws/bills/gender-recognition-reform-scotland-bill 

Timeline

3rd March 2022: Gender Recognition Reform Bill published

21st March 2022: Stage One (written evidence) begins with call for views on the Bill

16th May 2022: Call for views closes after four weeks

17th May 2022: Stage One (oral evidence) begins with the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee taking evidence from a range of stakeholders

28th June 2022: Oral evidence finishes after the committee hears from 39 witnesses with a range of perspectives and areas of expertise across 8 public sessions

2nd July 2022: Scottish Parliament enters summer recess until 4th September, meaning no Committee or Chamber sessions

We expect that the Bill will take just under a year to pass through Scottish Parliament, and throughout this time we will provide regular updates on what proposals the Bill makes, its progress through the legislative system, and the ways you can get involved to make sure it passes.

To help pass this reform, one of the most helpful things you can do is email your MSPs to tell them why they should support the Bill, and ask three of your friends to do the same.

Email your MSPs

Find your MSPs and tell them why you think they should vote to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

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GRA FAQ

Your frequently asked questions on the Gender Recognition Act answered.

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Scottish Trans is part of the Equality Network