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It’s really important that you let your MSPs know why reforming the Gender Recognition Act matters to you, whether you are a trans person or an ally.
As MSPs debate and vote on lots of Bills every year, being able to connect the legislation being discussed with a real person in their constituency helps them to focus on the reality of the Bill and who it might affect.
There is a lot of media attention on reform, much of which features false information and fearmongering about its potential effects. Speaking to you will be much more memorable than a headline or news snippet, and may be the thing that convinces them of the importance and necessity of this reform.
Every person in Scotland has 8 MSPs that represent them – 1 MSP who represents your local area (your “constituency MSP”), and 7 who represent the wider area that you live in (your “regional MSPs”).
There are many ways you can contact your MSPs: Meeting them at in person surgeries, arranging a phone or video call, or sending an email.
You may wish to get in contact with all 8 of your MSPs, and you can find out who your MSPs are by entering your postcode on this page on the Scottish Parliament website: https://www.parliament.scot/msps. Clicking on the name of each MSP will give their contact details and more information about what their role is within Parliament.
It can be intimidating to speak to an elected official like an MSP, but it’s important to remember that their job is to represent the interests of their constituents, and MSPs have told us that hearing from their constituents can have a huge impact on their opinion.
To make an appointment to speak to your MSP, you can call or email them to organise a time to chat. They may also have information online about regular meeting times (or “surgeries”) for constituents, which are often on Friday.
You may not have very long to chat to your MSP, so it’s best to focus on your own experiences and feelings around gender recognition.
If you are a trans person, you may want to talk about whether you have applied for a GRC and how you found it or how it can be improved, and if you haven’t you may want to explain why not, and how it could be more accessible to you.
If you are an ally, you may want to talk about why you think this is an important reform for trans people, or how negative attitudes towards trans people will also impact other groups.
If your MSP is unsure about reforming the GRA, remind them that it is just about trans people’s birth certificates. It helps protect your privacy but it doesn’t affect how you use toilets or single-sex services.
If they ask you a question you don’t know the answer to, be honest! You can suggest they get in touch with an LGBT organisation to ask.
You might not agree on everything, but try to focus on the things you do agree on, and stay polite and positive – this will be the most persuasive.
Emailing an MSP is a good way to concisely summarise why you think they should vote to reform the GRA, and why this is an important issue for trans people.
You can use this page to find your MSPs and email them.
If you aren’t quite sure what to say, you can use our template below, but the more personalised you can make your message the better.
In your email, you may want to discuss:
30 Bernard Street Edinburgh EH6 6PR
+44 (0)131 467 6039 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scottish Trans is part of the Equality Network
Scottish Trans is the Equality Network project to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland. The Equality Network is a leading Scottish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights charity.
The Equality Network is a registered Scottish charity: SC037852, and a company limited by guarantee: SC220213.
We are grateful for funding from the Scottish Government