Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill passes at Scottish Parliament

22nd December 2022

Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill passes at Scottish Parliament

Today, after days of debating and voting, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill has passed with 86 votes.

This follows a 6 year long process of consultations, evidence and policy development. We are pleased to welcome the passing of the Bill, which will simplify the process through which trans men and trans women are able to change their legal sex. The core principles of the Bill which we welcome are:

  • That gender recognition should be based on a statutory declaration that the person is living in their transitioned gender and intends to do so permanently
  • That the minimum age should be 16, with support and advice signposted and available for 16 and 17 year olds
  • That the effects of obtaining gender recognition should remain unchanged from those in place since 2005

As Scotland’s LGBTIQ+ sports charity, it is our considered view that this Bill will have no impact on trans people’s ability to participate in sports, or on the rights of sporting bodies as set out in the Equality Act 2010 (s195) to exclude trans people from participating in gender affected activities in their acquired gender where it is necessary for fairness or safety.

This has been a long process which has been overrun by moral panic, distraction from the purpose of the bill, and which has led to an increase in hate targeted towards trans people within Scotland and beyond. Whilst obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate has no effect on trans people participating in sports, this increased hate has also been experienced in sports contexts.

Despite the challenges faced throughout this process, partners and community members have worked tirelessly to continue the progress of the Bill towards its successful passing. We stand alongside our colleagues who have been instrumental in this work, and thank them for their unwavering commitment and dedication to our rights.

With the passing of the Bill we look to refocus onto improving sports, health, and educational services for trans and non-binary people across Scotland. We welcome collaboration with our many allies and community members within the sporting sector to further rights and opportunities for trans and non-binary people.

Mat Wilkie, Trans Inclusion Officer said about the passing of the Bill: 

“This bill and the move towards demedicalising trans people’s existence is very welcome. It will make it more straightforward and fairer for binary trans people like me to update our birth certificates, although, there remains no provision for non-binary people to update their birth certificates or much of their ID to reflect who they are. Throughout this process our lives have been reduced to arguments over whether or not we exist and whether or not we have a right to live our lives free from hate. And so most of all I want to say that we are so much more than any legislation and we will continue to survive and thrive amongst our siblings and chosen families, just as we always have. We have always been here and we will always be here and we are never ever alone.”

Written on 22nd December 2022.