UK

Scottish Greens call for gender laws block to be lifted

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was stopped by the UK Government from gaining royal assent.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was blocked by the UK Government
The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was blocked by the UK Government (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Greens have urged the next UK government to lift the block on Scotland’s controversial gender reforms.

Under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed in Holyrood, but a Section 35 order was later issued by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack to stop the legislation receiving royal assent over fears it interfered with the UK-wide Equality Act.

The Scottish Government decided to challenge the Section 35 order, but the Court of Session found it had been lawful.

The legislation would have removed the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria for a person to apply for a gender recognition certificate, as well as lowering the minimum age and shortening the period the applicant would have to live in their preferred gender.

Maggie Chapman wants the Section 35 order to be lifted
Maggie Chapman wants the Section 35 order to be lifted (Andrew Milligan/PA)

On Saturday, Green equalities spokeswoman Maggie Chapman urged the parties running in the General Election to commit to rescinding the Section 35 order – which she described as a “disgraceful attack” on the rights of transgender people – and allow the legislation on to the statute book.

She said: “Gender recognition reform was one of the most scrutinised Bills in the history of the Scottish Parliament. It was supported by MSPs from all parties, including the vast majority of SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs.

“The Act should be in effect right now, with trans people benefiting from the basic rights that we voted for. Instead we have seen even more disgraceful culture wars and hostility towards the community, all cynically stoked and fuelled by some of the most powerful people in the country.

“Lots of countries already use self-identification. The decision to block the reform was a calculated and cruel political stunt by a bigoted Tory Government that has never seen a minority group that it didn’t want to punch down on.

“With the curtain finally coming down on 14 years of Tory rule, a new government must end the hostility and lift the veto.”