Published: 14 Nov 2022
Britain’s equality regulator, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has advised the Scottish and UK governments on the implications of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill for the operation of the Equality Act 2010.
To assist MSPs as they consider the detail of the Bill at Stage 2 of the Parliamentary process, we have provided a briefing on the Bill and its proposed amendments.
The briefing explains the Bill’s main implications for Scotland and other parts of Britain, and the impact of amendments proposed by MSPs, including in relation to the proposed reduction in the age at which a young person can change their legal sex from 18 to 16 years, about which we have particular concerns.
We recognise that 16 is the age of legal capacity in Scotland and fully support the rights of young people to explore their gender identity freely and safely. However, we have concerns that young people in Scotland, as in the rest of Britain, may not have access to the necessary information and professional support to guide them through a process of legal gender recognition nor access to subsequent support.
Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
“We hope the ongoing process of parliamentary scrutiny at Holyrood will address the points we have raised in our briefing for MSPs, and in our correspondence with the Scottish and UK governments.
“Taking time to get the law right and iron out the implications of having different processes for obtaining legal gender recognition will benefit everyone, including trans people in Scotland, England and Wales, as well as schools, colleges and universities, employers, businesses and other organisations.
“Where changes to the law create uncertainty about the protections in the Equality Act, it is our duty to speak out to ensure that everyone in Britain is treated fairly and that the law is clear and enforceable.”