Gender empowerment: Scotland votes in favor of gender bill
A reform should make it easier for trans people to change their gender. But the British government wants to examine the law closely.
LONDON taz | The Scottish National Parliament has voted to reform gender recognition legislation: the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. On Thursday afternoon, it passed the new rules that will make it easier to change the gender entry on official documents in the future. The vote was preceded by a lengthy debate.
In Parliament in Edinburgh, 86 MPs voted in favor and 39 against. There were no abstentions. The law differs significantly from those of the British government. In the future, people in Scotland will be able to determine their gender without a psychiatric opinion for gender dysphoria.
In addition, the minimum age was lowered from 18 to 16 and the minimum period from the start of the transition was significantly reduced from two years to three months – for 16 and 17 year olds to six months. In Wales, England and Northern Ireland it remains two years.
The decision comes in Promise by Nicola Sturgeon back, the Scottish Prime Minister and party leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP). Before the vote, there were two public consultations, which received around 30,000 responses. Most recently, the Hoylrood Parliament in Edinburgh dealt with the draft for two whole days. 153 amendments had been tabled.
Dispute with Westminster
The discussion led to intra-party debates throughout Parliament. Within the SNP, even the Minister for Community Safety, Ash Regan, resigned. Joanna Cherry, an SNP MP in London’s Westminster Parliament, claimed her colleagues in the Scottish Parliament were afraid to oppose her group.
The new law could also lead to confrontations with Britain’s Westminster government. The Scotland Minister in London, Alister Jack, has already announced that the British government will put the reform through its paces. If it breaks the law for all nations of the UK, the British government will stop the reform.
Accordingly, the Scottish Government has drafted the law carefully so as not to conflict with Westminster laws or obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. For example, an amendment was not approved that would have barred anyone who is the subject of a criminal case for sex offenses from being able to change it.
Convicted offenders will not be automatically disfellowshipped, as called for in an amendment by the Conservative faction. Instead, they are under more scrutiny and scrutiny. This is to prevent the law from being misused to gain access to specially protected areas for women.
Protests in front of and in Parliament
Numerous women’s organizations had demonstrated in front of and in the Scottish Parliament in the past few days. After some from inside the audience shouted “shame” to the parliamentarians, they were removed from the building.
Some MPs, including Conservative parliamentary group leader Rachael Hamilton, wore items of clothing during the debate colors of the suffragette movement. The suffragettes fought for women’s suffrage more than a hundred years ago. In the current debate in the Scottish Parliament, the colors symbolized one critical attitude towards self-determination of trans people.
Rachael Hamilton complained that the legislation does not ensure enough security for women. To show that she does not represent an individual opinion, Hamilton cited a YouGov poll from the past few weeks in which the majority of Scottish voters from all parties voted against the reform.
Scotland’s Prime Minister Sturgeon, however, assured that the legislation would not lead to greater danger for women. Instead, they introduce new security checks, while at the same time making life a little easier for the stigmatized trans community. By no longer having to undergo intrusive, traumatizing and dehumanizing medical examinations.
Sturgeon is a feminist who will do anything to protect civil liberties. SNP Secretary of Social Justice Shona Robison also said that trans women can still be excluded from areas reserved for women. However, this must be legally justified and proportionate.