Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Government in Westminster is taking steps to block Holyrood’s recent gender recognition reform bill. They might also potentially stop the recognition of overseas gender recognition certificates. These are the latest in a series of regressive moves by an unpopular government against trans rights.
Instead of celebrating Scotland’s recent gender recognition reform bill, the Tory party plans on challenging it, and are now considering whether or not to block gender recognition reforms voted through in Scotland last month. In December 2022, the Scottish government passed the reform bill that facilitates the process to legally change their gender. As a result, trans people over the age of 16 are no longer required to provide a medical diagnosis.
Further Moves to Restrict Trans Rights
The British Government has begun 2023 as it means to go on, putting great energy into restricting trans people’s rights. On January 9th 2023, the Conservative government announced they may stop accepting gender recognition certificates from over 10 countries, including Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as well as Kemi Badenoch, the Equalities Minister, have both made anti-trans statements in the past. Just last year, Sunak openly stated that trans women are not women. Badenoch will be ‘updating the list of approved overseas countries and territories … to make sure it does not compromise the integrity of the Gender Recognition Act’. Given her previous statements on LGBTQ+ issues, it is clear that the trans community cannot rely on either politician to update this list in their favour.
Since the approved list was last updated, there are some countries and territories who have ‘made changes to their systems’. Therefore, a new update is seemingly necessary as these countries would no longer be ‘considered to have equivalently rigorous systems’. Meaning, rigorous systems such as the ones in the UK’s Gender Recognition Act 2004.
Trans Community Under Attack
If Sunak’s government decides to follow through on their plan, it will have disastrous and incredibly harmful consequences on the trans community trying to live in the UK. It is especially an attack on trans people who want to live their lives as their authentic selves after moving to the UK from countries such as Canada or New Zealand.
Stonewall released a statement on the UK’s potential decision. The organisation rightfully claimed that blocking Scotland’s gender recognition reform bill would be a mistake. Seeking to end the recognition of other countries’ gender recognition certificates effectively serves as a ‘trans travel ban’. As many as 14 countries could be affected by this decision. The Tory government’s plans go against the inclusive values Britain prides itself on. Instead of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the UK seeks to harm us.
If you live in the UK, we urge you to email your MP with your opinion on the UK’s potential decision. We all need to take action NOW! Let the UK government know that trans people deserve better. We will always continue to fight for trans rights everywhere!