What is the current GRA process and what changes are proposed? To read this in full, please visit the linked page.
With much gratitude for all her in depth work, this information is quoted from Susan Sinclair’s site – Scottish Women
On 9th Nov 2017 the Scottish Government opened a consultation about reviewing the Gender Recognition Act 2004. It closed on 1st March 2018 having received over 15,500 responses, of which only 49% were from respondents resident in Scotland. In November 2018 the Government published its independent analysis of the responses, and to date have not yet reached a decision on its next steps.
What happens under the current Gender Recognition Act 2004?
The Gender Recognition Act 2004 offers people the ability to have legal recognition of their preferred gender by issuing them with a Gender Recognition Certificate, which in turn permits them to be issued with a ‘new’ birth certificate. This ‘new’ birth certificate is identical in every way to the original, with the one exception being that the Sex marker is changed to the opposite of what was originally recorded. Therefore, the UK system doesn’t just recognise that a person has legally aquired their preferred gender, it actually goes further by legally altering their sex.
What is the current process for a person applying for legal gender recognition?
An applicant must submit the following to the Gender Recognition Panel:
- Two medical reports, demonstrating that they have or have had gender dysphoria, and detailing any medical or surgical treatment they have had. An applicant is not required to have had medical or surgical treatment.
- Proof that they have lived for at least two years full time in their acquired gender: for example by producing bank statements, payslips or their passport.
- A statutory declaration that they intend to live in the acquired gender until death.
Applicants must be aged 18 or over.
Applicants do not meet the Gender Recognition Panel in person, its mainly just an administrative procedure.
There is a fee of £140, although this fee can be reduced or not applied if the applicant has a reduced income.
What are the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act?
The Scottish Government have proposed
- Removing the requirement that applicants have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and
- Applicants no longer need to demonstrate that they have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years.
- The current requirement that applicants must make a statutory declaration will remain
In addition to removing two of the three current requirements, the Scottish Government has also proposed that the minimum age of applicants for legal gender recognition should be reduced from 18 years to 16 years of age.
This lower age limit is viewed as controversial by many, considering that the minimum age in Scotland for a person to do the following remains at 18 years old.
- vote in UK elections.
- buy alcohol or tobacco
- place a bet
- serve as a juror in both civil or criminal cases
In addition to these proposals, what else was included within the Scottish Government consultation?
- It sought views on what options might be available for permitting children under the age of 16 years old to also apply for legal gender recognition
- The consultation also asked for views about creating an additional third legal recognition option. This would be for people who identify as non-binary, and no longer want to be legally recognised as being either male or female.
Why is the Scottish Government wanting to reform the 2004 Act?
They state their reasons are because under the current Act the application process is complicated, time-consuming and unnecessarily intrusive for applicants.
They also say they want to reform it so that it is in line with “international best practice.”