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What Changes Are Being Proposed To The GRA?

The Scottish Government has been proposing to reform the GRA for several years, and has already carried out two public consultations (available here and here) to hear the opinions of people and organisations on this reform.

In their manifestos for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, the Scottish Greens, Scottish National Party, Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Scottish Labour all committed to reforming the GRA.

What would change?

Lower the minimum age requirement for applicants to 16

Switch from a requirement for psychiatric diagnosis and medical evidence to a system of statutory declaration (“self-declaration”)

Reduce the requirement for two years living “in-line” with your gender to three months, with a three month “reflection period” between application and the certificate being issued

The changes in this proposal would be welcome, and would remove some of the key barriers trans men and women face to changing the sex on their birth certificates.

If passed, these changes would bring Scotland more in-line with many other countries around the world (such as the Republic of Ireland and Iceland) where trans people can self-declare their change of sex rather than having to provide medical evidence or other documents.

The requirement to have lived in-line with your gender for at least three months would be included in the individual’s statutory declaration and sworn under oath. This timeframe would make it easier for trans people to change their name and gender on all of their legal documents at the same time.

In general, these changes would signify a move towards a Scotland which is more in line with globally recognised best practice but, more importantly, where trans men and women have more autonomy over how they are legally recognised.

What wouldn't change?

The need to sign a statutory declaration, saying that you identify and are living as a man/woman and intend to do so until death

All of the current legal effects of receiving a Gender Recognition Certificate – with no additional (or fewer) rights for those who have updated the sex on their birth certificate


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