Mark Kerrison / In Pictures via Getty Images Protesters with a Progress Pride flag gather to take part in a London Trans+ Pride march from Wellington Arch to Soho on July 9, 2022 in London, Britain. London Trans+ Pride is a grassroots protest event unaffiliated with Pride in London, focused on creating a space for London’s trans, non-binary, intersex and GNC community to come together, express their identity celebrate and fight for their rights. (Photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images
UK: London blocks Gender Change Act in Scotland (Illustrative photo by LGBT activists at London Trans+Pride on July 9, 2022)
LGBT – The British government decided on Monday January 16 to block a Scottish law making gender reassignment easier to recognize and announced a legal battle between London and the Edinburgh independence government, which denounced a “head-on attack” on local institutions .
This text, adopted by the Scottish Parliament on December 22 after heated debates, lowers the age required to apply for gender reassignment recognition to 16.
According to the UK Government Secretary for Scotland, Alister Jack, this legislation would have “an adverse effect on the working of equality legislation” across the UK.
A “frontal attack” on the Scottish Parliament
After “careful consideration”, the British minister said he had opted for a provision that would make it possible to prevent the text from obtaining the King’s assent and entering into force. “My decision today is about the impact of the legislation on the application of equality protection,” he emphasized, “I didn’t take this decision lightly.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted a “head-on attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and its ability to make its own decisions”.
This is a frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and its ability to speak its mind… https://t.co/MatUfUN0hO
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon)
The Scottish Government “will defend this law” and “the Scottish Parliament”, she added, denouncing a “Westminster veto”.
“We will absolutely defend this law”
The text, introduced by the independence government, removes the need for a medical and psychiatric diagnosis when applying for a gender recognition certificate. It reduces the time an applicant must live in their acquired gender from two years to three months, with an additional three-month cooling off period, and raises the minimum age to apply for this certificate to 16 (from 18 previously).
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government is the first to use this lockdown mechanism, risking triggering a legal and political showdown, while the Scottish government was recently denied the right to organize a new independence referendum by the Supreme Court.
“We will defend this law absolutely, solidly and rigorously and with a high degree of confidence,” Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday morning, ahead of central London’s announcement of its position. “We will defend the text before the Supreme Court if necessary,” she warned.
Safety Concerns of Women
Immediately after the law was passed, the UK government warned it was considering blocking the text. Passed after heated debates in the local parliament, the Gender Recognition Bill has been accused by opponents of endangering women, particularly with regard to access to spaces reserved for them.
The Scottish Government insists the text does not affect UK law, which allows for the exclusion of transgender people from certain reserved spaces, such as changing rooms.
“We share the concerns others – including the Commission on Equality and Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women – have about the text, particularly on safety issues for women and children,” a UK government spokeswoman said earlier on Day .
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