What are the provisions of the bill ?
- The law brings sweeping reforms to the system through which people obtain their gender recognition certificate (GRC).
- Currently, they have to apply to a UK gender recognition panel and must present two medical reports, including a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria and another listing any treatment or surgery they may have had to change their sexual characteristics.
- Applicants should also have been permanently living in their acquired gender for at least two years before applying for the GRC.
- Under the new gender recognition law, applications will be made to the Registrar General for Scotland instead of the UK panel.
- It also removes the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and extends the application process to 16 and 17-year-olds for the first time.
- The new self-identification system requires people to have lived in the acquired gender for at least three months before applying and six months for those who are under 18.
- It also provides a three month reflection period to the applicant before a certificate is issued.
- Opponents of the law claim that the reforms could undermine the rights that women secured after decades of struggle.
- They also fear that abusive males could use the new system to threaten the security of women.
- The primary criticism of the law is that women’s rights can be at odds with trans rights and that using such laws, abusive men will infiltrate women’s spaces. On the surface, there is no evidence to back these claims.
- For instance, in countries where gender self-identification has been legalised, including Norway, Malta and the Republic of Ireland, no increase in attacks on women and girls in single-gender spaces has been reported since the law was introduced.
Note: As of November 2022, gender self-identification, where no judge or medical expert are involved, is part of the law in 18 countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Switzerland and Uruguay.