Gender recognition law in Scotland to be amended for youngsters aged 16 and 17

Gender recognition legislation going through Holyrood is set to be amended, with provisions for 16 and 17-year-olds being changed.

Those in that age group will need to live in their “acquired gender” for a minimum of six months rather than three before applying for a gender recognition certificate, under an amendment backed by the Scottish Government.

A new offence of making a fraudulent application for a gender recognition certificate will also be created, social justice minister Shona Robison said.

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The amendments were being debated on Tuesday as women wearing suffragette colours during a discussion on the controversial gender reform laws were told to leave a committee room at Holyrood.

Former Scottish minister Ash Regan took a stand over the Gender Recognition Act Bill. Picture: Lisa Ferguson The reason for the visit is for the Minister to tour the facility and speak to SSPCA staff about the impact of fireworks on livestock, animals and pet owners, but particularly the impact of firework use around SSPCA rescue centres and the harm that can do to the animals within their care and the work SSPCA staff do with communities surrounding rescue centres across Scotland to raise awareness. The meeting is in the context of the Scottish Government’s Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Bill which is currently making its way through parliament. The Bill’s proposals include the introduction of a new power for local authorities to designate firework control zones, where it is not permitted for the public to use fireworks. The SSPCA are keen such zones should cover animal sanctuaries/rescue centres as well as zoos, farmland and natural sites of special scientific interest.

Security at Parliament reportedly told one woman her purple, white and green scarf was "political".

One of the women, tweeting under the name Obsolesence, said this was the first time she had been asked to remove the scarf, having attended the committee discussions on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill for months. She was asked to remove the scarf within the first ten minutes of discussions on more than 150 amendments to the legislation.

She left when she refused to take the scarf off, with a security guard reportedly stating the scarf had been “missed” in the past.

Conservatives’ committee member Russell Findlay said: “It’s shocking that the Scottish Parliament thinks it’s acceptable to police a woman’s clothing in this manner with the order to remove a scarf in the colours of the suffragettes. To do so during the discussion of a Bill that would limit the rights of women and girls makes it even worse.”

The incident occurred as Holyrood’s equalities committee began its first day of considering the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill at stage two.

The Bill passed stage one at the end of last month, though seven SNP MSPs defied the whip to vote against it and minister Ash Regan quit the Government in protest.

Opponents of the Bill have raised concerns about the impact of the legislation on women and girls, while supporters say it will have little impact outside the trans community.

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At the equalities committee, the SNP’s Christine Grahame proposed a number of amendments, which were also backed by the Conservatives’ Jackson Carlaw.

One changed the period 16 and 17-year-olds would have to live in their “acquired gender” from three months to six months before applying. It maintains the period as three months for those aged 18 and over.

Ms Grahame said: “All I want to do is put precautions and support in for 16 and 17-year-olds because I did share concerns that they are being put in the same position as 18-year-olds.”

Ms Robison said she backed Ms Grahame’s amendments.

The minister said: “Increasing the time period to six months would allow many young people greater opportunity to access guidance before applying, which they can confirm to the registrar general.”

Maggie Chapman, a Green member of the committee, was opposed to the change.

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