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Scotland’s plans to reform gender-recognition laws could be ‘kicked into the long grass’ because of coronavirus

Vic Parsons March 20, 2020
Scotland could pause gender recognition reforms because of coronavirus

A protester demonstrates outside the Scottish Parliament for reform of the Gender Recognition Act (Ken Jack/Getty)

Scotland could put plans to reform gender recognition laws on hold because of the coronavirus crisis, according to The National.

The reforms, which have been in the works since 2017, would make it simpler for transgender people to update the gender on their birth certificate in Scotland.

A public consultation on the draft bill containing the proposed changes to the existing legislation closed last on March 17.

The proposed reforms could shorten the time period trans people must wait between applying to change the gender marker on their birth certificate from two years to three months, lower the age limit from 18 to 16 and remove the need for trans people to have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

This would bring the process of changing the gender marker on a birth certificate more in line with the way it is changed on other official ID documents, like passports and driving licenses.

These changes are, despite what a small, vocal lobby of anti-trans organisations suggest, backed by women’s groups across Scotland and, according to the Scottish government, will have no impact on women’s rights or access to single-sex spaces.

But The National reports that as Holyrood braces to spend huge swathes of time dealing with emergency UK and Scottish legislation in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gender Recognition Reform bill (Scotland) is among those slated to be put on hold.

“Regarding GRA [Gender Recognition Act] reform, with the consultation closing, decisions have to be taken and I am hearing that it’s for the long grass,” one source told The National.

A second senior SNP insider added: “Certain bills are to go. You are on the right track that [the Gender Recognition Reform Bill] is one of them.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish government told PinkNews that it is the government’s intention to introduce the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill into parliament during this current parliamentary session (which ends in 2021).

The SNP could not be reached for comment.

More: gender recognition act, Gender Recognition Bill, legal gender recognition, Scotland, trans rights

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