Nicola Sturgeon
© PA
Nicola Sturgeon with Health Secretary Shona Robison (rear) during First Minister's Questions
Nicola Sturgeon's hotly debated gender reforms have been overwhelmingly rejected by a Scottish Parliament consultation, in what could lead to the sinking of the SNP's flagship bill.


Comment: Given Sturgeon's tyrannical rule during the contrived coronavirus crisis, it's unlikely they'll give up so easily; they'll try a number of manoevers, either lumping it amongst other, more favourable legislation, or simply ramming it through parliament without allowing citizens a say.


The SNP Government's proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act has been shunned by a wave of negative submissions to a Holyrood consultation.

The Scottish Parliament's Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee received almost 11,000 submissions when it asked for views on the controversial plans.

Of these 10,800 submissions, 59 per cent were against the reforms citing among other things its threat to women's sports, misogyny and homophobia.

The SNP's Bill was accused of failing to consider the "unintended consequences" of making it much easier for people to change gender and was deemed badly drafted.

Meanwhile, less than two fifths (38 per cent) of those who responded said they agreed with the Bill, while 3 per cent said they did not know.

The overwhelming rejection of the plans from members of the public will make it impossible for the SNP/Green coalition to argue the legislation has popular support.

It is almost unheard of for new laws to go ahead after such a resounding rejection at the consultation stage without major changes being implemented.


Comment: We live in unprecedented times...


The legislation has been under heavy scrutiny since it published proposals which set out to speed up the time it takes for someone to obtain a gender recognition certificate.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) (GRR) Bill also hopes to cut the length of time a person has to live in their acquired gender before applying from two years to three months - though they would then have to go through a mandatory three-month "reflection period" before confirming if they want to go ahead with their application.

This was rejected by more than 60 per cent of respondents to the consultation.

If passed, it would also lower the age at which trans people can obtain the document from 18 to 16, again more than 60 per cent said they disagreed with this reform.

Single-sex spaces have been a major worry for the women's rights groups that have been dismissed by Nicola Sturgeon and her government, however, the consultation suggests there is an overwhelming concern across the board.

"badly drafted", "poorly thought out"

The response highlight concerns about the impact of the GRR on women's sports, as well as on the loss of single-sex spaces in hospitals, prisons and women's refuges as well as in toilets and changing rooms.

Here there was a fear that "predatory males" could apply for a gender recognition certificate to allow them to "gain access" to women's spaces.

Opponents also raised concerns that young people could make "life-altering" decisions at too early an age, the "Gretna Green" cross border implications and the serious challenges facing the policing of false declarations.

The Bill was also accused of being "badly drafted", "poorly thought out" and "riddled with the dangers of unintended consequences."


Over 60 per cent said they thought there should be a medical diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, another safeguard that SNP ministers want to remove.

Supporters of the legislation agreed with the views of trans rights groups who recently gave evidence to the Holyrood committee.

It noted that it made the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate "more straight forward" and less "intrusive" for trans people.

They insisted it would not impact women's rights saying that, instead, the Bill seeks to bring the process of obtaining a certificate "in line with other legal documents" such as "driving licences, passports and changes to bank accounts".

When the legislation was published in March this year, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison stressed: "This Bill does not introduce any new rights for trans people. It is about simplifying and improving the process for a trans person to gain legal recognition, which has been a right for 18 years."

In the coming weeks, the committee will hear from those in opposition to the reforms, as well as those who have considered the impact on children.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "We will continue to work to reach consensus on our Bill which will reform the process by which a trans person can gain legal recognition.

"We know that for some with deeply held views against the reforms they have wanted to make their views heard to the committee.

"We held two public consultations on our proposed changes which received thousands of responses. The first consultation showed that 60% of respondents were in favour of the reform. The second consultation took a qualitative approach to the draft Bill itself.

"An independent survey conducted earlier this year for the BBC also found that 57% of people polled in Scotland thought it should be easier to get a gender recognition certificate.

"The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was introduced in March and it is now with Parliament to scrutinise and consider."