Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill

Thank you for your email to me regarding the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate can be a lengthy and traumatic process which is undignified and disrespectful. That is why Scottish Labour support reform of the Gender Recognition Act to demedicalise the process, as set out in our 2021 manifesto, and we will therefore support the bill at Stage 1.

However, we also believe there are a number of areas where the legislation needs to be improved. These include the interaction of the bill with the Equality Act 2010, the proposed process for applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, data collection, and exploring concerns around the age of applicants, in particular where there are concerns about a young person’s capacity. We also believe there needs to be improvements to the proposed provision of support and information for applicants.

Scottish Labour believe that reforms must de-medicalise the process and that the process for application for a GRC set out in the current GRA should be replaced with something that is more accessible and dignified, administrative in nature and is not overly complex.

It is essential that everyone’s rights are protected. That is why we support reform of the Gender Recognition Act and the continued implementation of protections and provisions within the 2010 Equality Act. This includes the operation of the exemptions with regard to single sex spaces. As the bill progresses, Scottish Labour will seek to make it clear in the legislation that for the avoidance of doubt, the protections in the Equality Act 2010 remain in place.

As the Bill proceeds Scottish Labour will seek to ensure the new arrangements for the application and administration of GRCs do this, are robust and deliver a process in which both trans people and the wider public can have confidence.

Scottish Labour will therefore seek amendments to the Bill to ensure this as it makes its way through Parliament. We are committed to properly scrutinising the legislation to ensure that it is fit for purpose, protects the rights of all.