Gender Recognition reforms made simpler in Scotland


The government of Scotland has introduced much-awaited legislation that will simplify the legal process of gender-changing. Under the bill, the waiting time has been reduced from two long years to just three months, and there will not be any need for Psychiatric or medical reports. It will further allow individuals aged 16-17 to apply for the same.

The Social Justice Secretary, Shona Robison, said that these reforms were necessary not only for transgender people but is also significant in showing who we are as a nation. She made this statement on Thursday, 3 March, as she would launch the bill.


It is uncommon for a statement to be made while introducing a new bill in the chamber, reflecting the uncertainties surrounding the plans, which have been boldly contested within the governing Scottish National party and across the parliament.

New legislation to enhance the system through which transgender people can acquire legal recognition has been introduced.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill will modify the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to present new measures for applicants seeking a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).
Acquiring a GRC means a transperson is legally acknowledged in their acquired gender and can have a new birth certificate showing that GRC certificate.

The bill will need applicants to make a legally binding statement that they intend to live permanently in their acquired gender. They will no longer need to provide medical reports or any other evidence.

Applicants will be needed to live in their acquired gender for a minimum of three months, with another three months before a GRC certificate is granted.

The bill also includes a criminal offence for applicants who make a false statutory declaration, with a possible imprisonment of up to two years.


The bill follows vast consultation. Almost 2/3rd (60%) of respondents to the Scottish government’s 2017 consultation on the regulations of gender recognition reform were in acceptance of introducing a statutory declaration system for permitted gender recognition.

Shona Robison further said, “Trans men and women are among the most condemned in our society, and many find the current system for acquiring a Gender Recognition Certificate to be disrupting, medicalised and bureaucratic.”

“This Bill does not introduce any new privileges for trans people. It is just about simplifying and enhancing the process for a trans person to gain legal distinction, which has been a right for 18 years.”

“Our support for trans rights does not clash with our continued firm commitment to uphold the rights and protections that women and girls currently have under the 2010 Equality Act.” This bill makes no changes to that Act.

“The Scottish Government has always been willing to pursue consensus where potential and to work to sustain respectful debate. That will remain a guiding principle as the bill progresses through parliament.”

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