Officials in the United Kingdom have stepped forward to take action to halt a new Scottish measure from going into effect that seeks to determine how people go about officially changing their designated gender in Scotland.
Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, explained this past Monday that the government of the U.K. was going to be blocking the passage of the new Scottish legislation.
As part of an oral statement to parliament set up this past Tuesday, Jack put into a spotlight just how the bill would create a new way for a person to go about applying for “legal gender recognition in Scotland.” It would seek to drop the minimum age a person can be to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate and drop the current requirement of having to go a get medically diagnosed, as well as the proof that person has been living “for two years in their acquired gender.”
Jack stated that he was setting up an order “under section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998 preventing the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from proceeding to Royal Assent.”
He also claimed that the government “believes however that transgender people deserve our respect, our support and our understanding,” but his efforts to make the order “is centred [sic] on the legislation’s consequences for the operation of reserved matters, including equality legislation across Scotland, England and Wales.”
When making public these new potential guidelines, the Scottish government claimed, “We think that trans people should not have to go through a process that can be demeaning, intrusive, distressing and stressful in order to be legally recognized in their lived gender.”
Jack went on to state that this new bill would “have a serious adverse impact, among other things, on the operation of the Equality Act 2010.” He stated that the negative bit involves how single-sex clubs, groups, and school work, as well as social safeguards such as equal pay.
He also stated that the government has the very same concerns as many other people and groups over the probable effect of the law on girls and women.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, also highlighted that ther were “no grounds” for the U.K. government to step in to not allow it go through, making the argument that it did not impact the Equality Act.
Sturgeon explained to the BBC that Jack was pushing out a “profound mistake” and claimed that he is starting a “direct attack on the institution of the Scottish Parliament.” Sturgeon explained that the entire ordeal would “inevitably end up in court” and that the government of Scotland would “vigorously defend this legislation.”
“In doing so we will be vigorously defending something else, and that is the institution of the Scottish Parliament and the ability of MSPs, democratically elected, to legislate in areas of our competence,” stated Sturgeon. “In short, we’ll be defending Scottish democracy.”