GRA Scotland: MSPs show their support for reforming the Gender Recognition Act during parliamentary debate

A SNP MSP has claimed “moral panic” towards trans people needs to be addressed as politicians from across the divide have shown their support for reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).

Karen Adam and Pam Duncan-Glancy were among the MSPs in favour of reform to the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland.
Karen Adam and Pam Duncan-Glancy were among the MSPs in favour of reform to the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland.

A motion on Celebrating LGBT History Month, put forward by SNP MSP Karen Adam, was debated in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday evening.

During this debate, cross-party support was shown for reforming the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.

It comes as a Bill to reform the Act is to be brought forward to Parliament next week by social justice secretary Shona Robison.

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The GRA governs how trans people can attain legal gender recognition. The proposed reforms to the Act would make it easier for a person to change their legally recognised sex.

At Holyrood, Ms Adam said there was a “moral panic” in the UK, “particularly towards trans people” that needs to be addressed.

She said the GRA reform would strengthen Scotland’s commitment to LGBT rights and inclusion.

The MSP said: "I want to take this opportunity today to reaffirm my commitment to improving LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion particularly as we move forward in reforming GRA, but also very importantly we need to improve healthcare and outcomes for trans people.

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"Let’s go further and let’s do more.”

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Trans gender debate: Scotland should get on with Gender Recognition Act reform –...

Stating the reform Bill was "long-overdue”, Labour’s Pam Duncan-Glancy said: “I stand ready alongside my colleagues to support reform and to scrutinise the bill to ensure that it delivers the change needed where transgender people no longer have to endure intrusive, degrading and medicalised intervention just to identify in the gender they are.”

Ms Duncan-Glancy said delay to reform had allowed “fear and ignorance to prosper”.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said the existing gender recognition process “needs reformed”, adding: “[The current process] is harming people every day.”

Yet the reform to the Act, which has been one of the most consulted on pieces of legislation in Scottish Parliament, has seen an intense debate arise in Scotland.

Concerns have been raised by gender critical groups including whether gender self-identification could affect women-only spaces such as toilets, changing rooms and domestic violence refuges.

However, pro-GRA groups claim such spaces would still be protected separately through the Equality Act 2010.

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Conservative MSP Jamie Greene said: “We must reform gender recognition in a way where no-one is wheesht, but in a way which also asks each and every one of us to put ourselves in the shoes of a young trans person today in Scotland waiting 44 months for treatment.”

Concluding the debate, the SNP’s Christina McKelvie said: “The Bill does not introduce any new rights for trans people or change the protections provided within the Equality Act.

"While there is disagreement on these issues it’s vital we work together to set a tone for respectful discussion.”

Paul Daly, LGBT Youth Scotland policy and research manager, said: “We were delighted to see Karen Adam MSP’s motion on celebrating LGBT History Month debated in the Scottish Parliament.

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“At a time when certain groups, like trans people and LGBT asylum seekers and refugees, are faced with a wave of hostility, it was powerful to hear elected representatives speak up in support of theirrights.

“Last night’s debate, which brought those experiences to the heart of Scottish democracy, was an important part of that journey.”

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