It’s obviously concerning to read today’s VICE story
that the new UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss, has sought legal advice to try and ‘pause or prevent’ reform of the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland. The laws surrounding birth certificates and birth registration are devolved to Scotland, and the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill which is currently in the Scottish Parliament has been through all of the normal stages every Bill goes through at Holyrood – which includes a stage to determine that it is within the Scottish Parliament’s power to pass it. Scotland also already has slightly different rules around legal gender recognition from the rest of the UK – we don’t have the ‘spousal veto’ which requires a spouse to consent to a person receiving legal gender recognition – due to a change made in 2014 by the law passed in Scotland to introduce legal marriage.
This is a devolved issue, and it would show complete disrespect for Scotland’s Parliament and democracy for the new UK Prime Minister to try to stop this Scottish Parliament bill just because she disagrees with it. That would seriously undermine the devolution settlement that has been in place for more than 20 years as the settled will of people in Scotland.
So we’re very hopeful that there is no way for the UK Government to block this Bill, which is supported by four out of five parties at Holyrood, and which has now been five years, two public consultations, and lots of hard work from our communities and allies in the making. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also outlined the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government for the next year yesterday at the Scottish Parliament, and while not saying much about gender recognition reform, that Programme is clear that the Bill is currently at Parliament and would continue its progress (along with four other Bills that were introduced last year but yet to pass).
As always though, we’ll try and keep you posted on any developments we learn of as soon as we can. And we send our solidarity and love to our trans siblings all across the UK – who we know will be as worried as we are about what this new UK Government intends going forward, not just for trans people and our equality and human rights, but for those of our LGB+ siblings and all marginalised groups.