On December 22, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill passed with 86 votes for the legislation and 39 against it. There were no abstentions. The law has been in the works for more than six years and has caused significant controversy. People who would like to legally change their gender have to live as their newly acquired gender for three months before getting a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). The duration will be six months if they are 16 or 17 years old.
The bill, which would make it simpler for individuals to change their gender, was scheduled for a vote in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, December 21. But it wasn't until early the next morning that Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) cast their votes on the bill's revisions.
The Scottish government intends to expedite the current action for obtaining a GRC, which establishes the legal status of a trans person's "acquired" gender. This is intended to improve the process for legal recognition of their gender and identity.
Currently, citizens must apply to a UK gender recognition body and generally have to provide a gender dysphoria diagnosis. According to the Scottish government, this application process is overly onerous and intrusive, which upsets a minority community that is already fragile and stigmatised.
The new bill suggested the Scottish Registrar General handle applications rather than the UK panel. The time that people must live as their acquired gender would be shortened to three months, and no diagnosis or medical records would be needed.
In the final First Minister's Questions (FMQs) before the Christmas break on December 22, opposition leaders confronted Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, with different current issues. Afterwards, MSPs immediately returned to the gender discussion in anticipation of the vote’s outcome.
Rachael Hamilton, an MSP for the Conservative Party, brought up a point of order in an attempt to postpone the vote. According to the BBC, she claimed that the government had initially estimated the cost of the legislation at £500,000, but there is a possibility that it will be higher due to various revisions and adjustments.
She said that raising it above that point would require the parliament to first approve the spending before voting on the actual legislation. Nonetheless, the presiding officer, Alison Johnstone, dismissed the MSP's claim by indicating that she believed the expected amount would be within the £500,000 cutoff.
In addition, Hamilton said that the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would make it more convenient for violent men to assault women. Highlighting the media coverage that claimed predatory men were entering single-sex areas, she questioned how members could approve a proposal that threatens the safety of women. Ultimately, Hamilton argued that, rather than pushing the bill, the parliament should address its shortcomings in 2023.
Over the next weeks, the bill’s interactions with the Equality Act 2010 will be carefully examined, as the topic of equal protection for all has sparked a significant amount of dispute.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in