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SNP will not discuss Gender Recognition Act plans at party conference

Vic Parsons July 13, 2019
700 people condemn 'crisis of transphobic abuse' in Scottish politics

Protesters demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament for reform of the GRA on June 12, 2019 in Edinburgh. (Ken Jack/Getty Images)

Scotland’s plans to reform gender recognition laws will not be discussed at the SNP annual party conference, despite the planned reforms having recently been postponed.

On June 20, SNP equalities minister Shirley-Anne Somerville announced that planned reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) were being postponed and that legal recognition would not be extended to non-binary transgender people.

A number of motions about the GRA plans were submitted to SNP party bosses but none have been selected for the draft conference agenda, The National reports.

The delays came amid heightened public interest in whether improvements to trans rights would impact women.

Somerville said that the aim of the government is to ensure trans people enjoy equality and feel safe and accepted for who they are, but “in a way that doesn’t infringe on the rights of anyone else.”

As a result, an Equality Impact Assessment will be published alongside the draft bill “to ensure that all rights are protected.”

“I am a feminist… I don’t feel a conflict between my support for women’s rights and for trans rights,” Somerville told the Scottish Parliament on June 20. “But I know and I understand that many do.”

“It’s important we listen to and address these concerns. These concerns are not about trans women. They are a fear of predatory men,” she said.

SNP will not discuss possible reforms despite public support for them

The proposed reforms would have removed the need for trans people to provide medical evidence, like a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and psychiatric reports, when seeking to change their legal gender, and reduce the amount of time trans people must prove they’ve lived in their “acquired gender” before being able to legally change it from two years to six months.

The Scottish Government’s consultation on gender recognition was open from 9 November 2017 to 1 March 2018, receiving 15,697 responses.

A 62 percent majority said that Scotland should take action to legally recognise non-binary people. Somerville said on June 20 that extending legal recognition to non-binary people had been dropped from the reform plans.

The draft bill is scheduled to be published by the end of 2019 and will be open to public consultation, despite the government having already carried out a consultation that showed the public favour reforming the GRA and recognising non-binary people.

More: gender recognition act, scottish national party, SNP

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