Between November 2017 and March 2018, the Scottish Government received views from the public on the Gender Recognition Act (2004), to which it is considering several reforms. Now, the results from this lengthy consultation process have been published online.

The Gender Recognition Act was introduced over a decade ago to allow transgender people to legally apply to have their acquired gender recognised by the state, instead of the one they were assigned at birth. At the time, it was viewed as a progressive step forward in transgender rights, as it allowed transgender people to legally live as their true selves. However, in recent times the Act has come under criticism from LGBT rights organisations, on the basis that it enforces a slow-moving, bureaucratic and expensive process for those seeking gender recognition. The language of the Act also continues to present transgender identities as the result of a medical condition called ‘gender dysphoria.’ In response to these criticisms, the Government is reviewing the law, with the view to allowing transgender people to self-declare, rather than go through the lengthy recognition process.

The results show that a majority of respondents to the consultation (60%) agreed that Scotland should adopt a new, self-declaratory system for recognising people’s acquired genders. It remains to be seen whether the Government will adopt the public’s recommendations, but this could result in drastic reform of the way that transgender people are treated and recognised by the state.

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