en English

The Scottish reform of the Gender Recognition Act was eagerly awaited by many. There was hope that there would be legal recognition of a non-binary gender identity. There was anticipation that people would be given autonomy to self identify their gender, without it having to be ‘approved’ by a doctor or panel.

Furthermore, there was hope that these changes would be imminent.

However, further consultation has now been scheduled before any reforms take place. Very sadly, the recognition that a person’s gender identity may not be female or male, but may be somewhere in between, or have no elements of maleness of femaleness, as described by the non-binary gender, is not to be legally recognised in Scotland at this time.


The right of a person to self identify as non-binary is still on the agenda, but it is open to further discussion and approval – not by those who know all too well who they are and what their gender means to them, but by a panel of people who have been tasked with the job of determining whether such a title can, and should, be recognised.


This will be highly insulting to those individuals who have very clear feelings about their non-binary gender identity and who have as much right as anyone else to declare themselves as such. The concept that someone else should hold the power and ability to judge their gender better than them is frankly, insulting.

There is also the additional insult, that anyone who wishes to have their gender legally recognised will have to have shown some kind of “commitment” to living in a particular gender role for a period of six months.

Clearly there is no evidence for this arbitrary time period and as there is no ‘rule book’ as to how a man or a woman should dress, act, or behave, in order to prove their gender, this is another blow to the community.

I, as a doctor, feel it is highly inappropriate that, as a result of my medical training, I am considered ‘qualified’ to judge someone else’s gender. When will we begin to understand that it is not our place to approve anyone else’s innate sense of who they are and how they choose to be seen in the world?


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Dr Helen Webberley is the founder of GenderGP. A passionate advocate for the transgender community, she continues to campaign for real change in the way that trans people are treated in society and particularly in relation to the barriers they face when accessing healthcare. Dr Webberley believes in gender-affirmative care and that the individual is the expert in their own gender identity.