The Scottish government has finally voted in favour of the new proposed Gender Recognition Reform Bill. The bill represents a huge step forward for the trans community in Scotland, passed in the face of heavy opposition from the Scottish Conservatives.

Gender Recognition Reform Bill

The Gender Recognition Reform bill was proposed six years ago. In December 2022, Scotland finally passed the proposed Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The bill seeks to better facilitate the process by which trans people can obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) and legally change their gender. The current process in Scotland is in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004, and has long been in need of an update.

With the Gender Recognition Reform bill being approved, trans people no longer require a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to apply for a GRC. The previous law did not allow trans minors to change their gender identity. However, the new reform bill expands the age requirement to people over the age of 16. The reform bill also proposes that trans people live in their acquired gender for three months instead of two years.

Voting in Scotland

Recently, the Tories in Scotland have been accused of disrupting and delaying the ‘parliamentary proceedings’. During the process, the Tory group did not communicate their amendment among members. According to a Labour Party MSP, it was clear that the Scottish Tories were simply ‘wasting time’ and prolonging the parliamentary decision.

During the past few days over 150 amendments to the reform bill were heard and debated on – this is despite the bill having already been supported by significant research and subject to much prior debate. After consideration, the Scottish Government voted to pass the reform bill. 86 votes were in favour of it, 39 voted no, and there were no abstentions.

De-Medicalising the Process Through the Gender Recognition Reform Bill

It is time the Scottish Government separated the medical from the juridical. De-medicalising the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate is extremely beneficial for trans people’s overall well-being. It makes it easier for them to legally change their name to reflect their correct gender. This can help on various occasions. Whether you need a marriage certificate or want an updated birth certificate, you will need to go through the GRC process beforehand.

Trans people know that they are trans. It should not be up to other medical professionals to determine whether they are ‘trans enough’ for the Government, be that in Scotland or elsewhere.

Besides, not all trans people even experience gender dysphoria. Thus, requiring a medical diagnosis only pathologises trans identities. Trans people are not a monolithic group. They should be treated as others are, on the basis of themselves and their own needs and experiences.

We are delighted to see that Scotland has finally passed their Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Having the opportunity to change their gender through self-identification is a practice that many other countries have introduced. It speeds up the process and allows for trans people to have official documents matching their gender identity, without being subject to harmful and humiliating hoop-leaping. This will make it easier for members of the community to better live their lives without interference.