- 72 Scottish LGBT+ groups have signed letter of solidarity with trans community as Scotland reviews Gender Recognition Act.
72 LGBT+ organizations have written to Scottish politicians backing trans rights as the country reviews its Gender Recognition Act.
Scotland is planning to make it easier for trans people to legally change their gender. It will bring Scotland in line with some of the best countries in the world for trans rights, including the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Malta, Denmark and Belgium.
The letter to Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) says the LGBT+ organisations are worried by attempts some transphobes have made to split trans people off from lesbian, gay and bi people.
Scotland’s plans for Gender Recognition Act
Scotland’s previous gender recognition laws date from 2004. Back then the Westminster Parliament decided the laws UK wide. Now Scotland has the power to decide how to update them.
It hopes to create a smoother process for trans people to change their birth certificates to reflect their true gender.
Under the new plans, trans people would only need to live in their gender role for six months, not 24 as before.
An initial consultation on the issue got over 15,500 responses, most of them in favor of trans rights.
Since then, the debate has got more polarised across the UK. A minority of women have argued the laws will make them less safe, though mainstream LGBT+ organisations disagree.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, has responded by saying organisations will still need to ensure women feel safe. And that violence against women is not the fault of trans people.
The Scottish government is now running a consultation on its detailed plans until 17 March this year. After that, they are likely to change the law during 2020.
Letter from LGBT+ groups
The letter to MSP states: ‘We are resolute and united in support of trans equality and human rights, as we have always been, and today reaffirm our support for trans people and equality.
‘We stand for LGBT equality alongside equality for all other groups. There is no real equality unless it is equality for all.’
The 72 signatories include sports groups, Pride organizers and national and local LGBT+ organisations.
The letter adds: ‘The LGBT community in Scotland, and our allies, have worked together for a better Scotland, changing this country for the better for all its people and challenging sexual orientation and gender reassignment discrimination.
‘In this journey we have learned that as an LGBT community we are stronger when we are united.
‘Recently, we have been concerned by attempts by some to isolate the trans community from the wider LGBT community; this goes against everything we stand for.’
The letter backs the changes to gender recognition. And it also supports the Scottish Government’s plan to include LGBT+ people in the 2021 national census.