GENDER: Views on responses to proposed gender recognition reform published

By Lucy Ashton

A long-awaited independent analysis of responses to a proposed law change on gender recognition reform has been published by the Scottish Government.

The findings were outlined in an analysis of responses to the Government’s consultation on the draft Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Views were gathered on a number of changes proposed in the Bill, which seeks to introduce a new system for obtaining legal gender recognition in Scotland.

As part of the consultation, opinions were specifically sought on two aspects proposed under the Bill.

Respondents were also asked whether the age at which an application for legal gender recognition can be made should be reduced from 18 to 16.

Outside of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, there were campaigners who gathered in protest against GRA reform, as well as campaigners taking part in a counter-demonstration in support of trans rights.

The Government’s analysed over 17,000 responses to the proposals – 16,843 of which were submitted by members of the public, whilst 215 were submitted by organisations.

Some respondents also indicated that the debate had become “toxic” and was underpinned by a culture, and a social media culture in particular, in which people are “bullied and harassed by those taking a different view”.

A number of respondents expressed the view that Scottish Government “has not listened” to the concerns and needs of the transgender community over the proposed changes to gender recognition legislation.

But, the report also stated the view of some respondents that the Scottish Government “listens primarily to the trans community while failing to engage with those who have concerns about the impact of the proposed changes on women and girls or based on their beliefs”.

The Government’s analysis of comments made in the consultation found that a “small majority of organisations broadly supported changing to a statutory declaration-based system”.

It also stated that “around four in 10 organisations did not support changing to a statutory declaration-based system and around one in 10 either did not take a view or their view was not clear”.

Scotland’s social justice secretary Shona Robison said that work on the draft bill and its provisions has now resumed after a pause as the Government responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

Glasgow: The city’s first Pride Mardi Gla since 2019 begins on Saturday afternoon.
             Pride Mardi Glasgow March since 2019 took place today,  Saturday afternoon.

New Scottish Green minister Patrick Harvie will address crowds at Glasgow’s pride march, which returns to the city on Saturday afternoon.

The city’s first Pride Mardi Gla since 2019 will begin at Festival Park, with the parade making its way to George Square.

Most Pride events around the UK in 2021 have been cancelled due to coronavirus, with just Glasgow and Birmingham hosting marches this year.

Organisers say Glasgow’s is the first full march since the onset of the virus.

Harvie, who is co-leader of the Scottish Green party, joined the Scottish Government last week as part of the cooperation agreement between the SNP and his party.

Before the march sets off, he will announce that bisexuality will be the theme for this year’s Glasgow Pride.

Government Ministers Shona Robison and Dumbarton man Patrick Harvie.

This year, participants have been asked to take a lateral flow test beforehand and wear a face covering.

Daniel Syme, chair of the organising committee said: “Covid has been so tough for everyone, but particularly the LGBT+ communities as we have seen a large increase in hate crimes in Scotland and also the rise of brutality and removal of legal rights across Eastern Europe.

“Today is a major step back to normality with a full pride march, and I am delighted that Glasgow and Birmingham have come together to ensure the return of official pride marches to the UK.”

Parade manager Stuart McPhail added: “The team has worked closely with Glasgow City Council and public agencies to ensure that the safety and welfare of participants is the most important consideration – we are clear that by people testing and considering wearing face coverings that Glasgow’s Pride as an outside event is safe.”

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