Seven national organisations representing young people have backed changes to the Gender Recognition Act in a demonstration of solidarity with trans and non-binary people in Scotland.
In an open letter, signed by NUS Scotland, SNP Students, Scottish Labour Students, Scottish Young Greens, Children in Scotland, Scottish Young Liberals and the Scottish Youth Parliament, the organisations call for action on the GRA reforms, supported by all the main political parties in their most recent election manifestos.
The letter says:
“We, the undersigned, are national youth and student organisations that want to express our support and solidarity to trans people across Scotland, and call for reform of the Gender Recognition Act.”
“When the GRA was passed in 2004, it was considered world-leading because it didnt require trans people to be sterilised before gaining legal recognition of their gender. In the years that have passed, understanding and knowledge of trans rights has changed quickly, and as other countries have passed legal recognition laws to reflect this, Scotland’s has fallen behind standards set elsewhere.”
“We want this to change, and note the manifesto pledges of all the political parties in the Scottish Parliament. We support reform of the GRA to bring it in line with international best practice. This means a system of self-declaration open to those who are 16 and over, that legally recognises non-binary people, and that allows children and young people under 16 a means of obtaining legal recognition.”
“We think it’s time for a law that reflects our understanding of what trans equality looks like. We think it’s time for a law that reflects Scotland’s ambitions in 2019 of being modern, inclusive, and welcoming to all.”
The move comes amid growing frustration at the lack of progress on GRA reform by the Scottish Government, who have promised to bring trans reforms inline with international best practice.
The SNP have faced critical voices from within the party however, with gender critical feminists, such as Joanna Cherry MP and Joanne McAlpine MSP, citing their “legitimate concerns” about the reforms and the implications for women.
Earlier this week in Westminster, Scotland’s youngest ever elected MP, Mhairi Black, spoke passionately about the GRA reform and why those with concerns should be satisfied with the safeguards already in place.
Commenting on the joint letter from Scottish youth and student organisations, Vic Valentine of Scottish Trans Alliance said:
”We’re delighted that these important student and young people’s organisations have come together on IDAHOBIT to support reforming the Gender Recognition Act. This law needs urgently updating to ensure all trans people can have legal recognition of who we are without having to engage with an expensive, complicated and dehumanising process.”
Paul Daly, Senior Practitioner at LGBT Youth Scotland, said:
”Young people talk to us about the impacts of GRA reform and the hopes they have for the future. They want to see a progressive Scotland and legislation that truly reflects their needs and experiences.”
For more information about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, check out this resource – http://equalrecognition.scot