GRA reform is a fundamental equality issue for trans young people. So why delay it?
Children in Scotland has responded to today’s announcement by the Scottish Government that, instead of going ahead with reform of the Gender Recognition Act, there will be a further consultation and the establishment of a working group on data, sex and gender.
The Scottish Government also announced that there will be no legal GRA process for under-16s, and that LGBT Youth Scotland guidance on supporting trans young people in schools will now be replaced by Scottish Government guidance.
Our Head of Policy, Projects and Participation Amy Woodhouse said:
“While we acknowledge the challenging nature of this debate, at its heart this is a human rights issue.
“In that light we are disappointed in this delay, and sceptical about what the value of further consultation would be.
“The Scottish Government has already conducted a full consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act.
“It ran from 9th November 2017 to 1st March 2018 and received more than 15,000 responses, with a clear majority of Scottish respondents in favour of reform.
“In the wake of this, last autumn the government pledged to bring forward legislation on gender recognition in its next legislative programme.
“Since then many organisations advocating for trans rights have done their best to share the lived experiences of trans young people, highlighting the injustices they face and articulating this as an equality and rights issue that must be resolved.
“We have fully supported them in doing this and will continue to do so.
“Transgender people in the UK are at a higher risk of homelessness, violence, self-harm and suicide – as made clear by LGBT Youth Scotland’s 2018 report Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People.
“Given this, we would question what message delaying GRA reform sends about the Scottish Government’s commitment to equality for trans young people and the trans community.
“We would also question this delay in the context of what should be an increasingly rights-based approach to policymaking and legislation for children and young people.
“For our 25 Calls campaign, activist Jade Reynolds said that comprehensive reform of the GRA could have the potential to give trans young people the chance to live full, happy lives – but that the challenge would be turning changes in legislation into changes in practice and at societal levels.
Jade said: ‘We need to make sure that all trans people have the legal protections they deserve; processes are affordable and accessible; trans people are not forced to prove their existence by arbitrary means; and society starts accepting them and their gender identity.’
“Today, we’ve taken a step back from achieving those goals at a time when we should be showing solidarity with trans young people and giving them hope for a better future.”