| 5°C Belfast

Majority back Scottish Government plans for legal gender self-declaration

More than 15,000 people responded to a consultation on the proposal to reform the legal gender recognition system in Scotland.

Scotland should reform the law to allow people to legally self-declare their gender, according to a majority of people responding to a government consultation.

The Scottish Government consulted on plans to reform the legal gender recognition system in Scotland and has committed to bringing forward legislation to do so.

More than 15,000 people responded to the consultation, of which 49% were Scottish residents, 38% were resident elsewhere in the UK and 13% were from outwith the UK.

More than half of respondents to the question (60%) backed the government’s plan to allow people to change gender by self-declaration, while a similar proportion (61%) supported the proposal for this to be open to those aged 16 and over.

Self-declaration would mean people applying to legally change gender would not have to demonstrate a diagnosis of gender dysphoria or that they had lived for a period in their acquired gender.

Comments by those in favour of the self-declaration proposal most frequently cited that gender identity is personal matter, sought by those who know their own minds.

They also criticised the length, complexity and cost of the current process and said it is demeaning, intrusive and stressful.

  • 49% Scottish residents
  • 38% resident elsewhere in the UK
  • 13% from outwith the UK

The issue most frequently raised by those against the plan is that self-declaration may pose a risk to
women’s safety in spaces including toilets, changing rooms, hospital wards and refuges.

Other concerns raised were that it would erode the identity or rights of natal women and the plans fail to distinguish between sex and gender.

Half of those responding said applicants should have to provide a statutory declaration confirming they know what they are doing and intend to live in their acquired gender until death.

Just under half (48%) backed having no limits on the number of times a person can apply, while 42% opposed this.

How many people really want to see 16 year-old-children locking themselves into gender-change?The Christian Institute

Questioned on whether Scotland should take action to recognise non-binary people – who do not identify as having a fixed gender – a majority (62%) were in favour, with 33% against.

The consultation ran between November 2017 and March 2018 and a total of 15,532 people and 165 groups responded.

Scottish equality campaigners, the Equality Network, said there were good majorities in favour of “fully inclusive reform”.

Opponents to the proposals, The Christian Institute, cast doubt on how representative of the Scottish public the respondents were, despite having themselves responded.

They added: “How many people really want to see 16 year-old-children locking themselves into gender-change at an age when many are still coming to terms with who they are?”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We have now published the independent analysis of responses.

“We will consider this analysis and the views of consultees as we take forward our commitment to bring forward legislation on gender recognition.”

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Top Videos