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by Staff reporter
23 May 2022
Gender recognition reform: Over half of survey respondents oppose changes

Members of the campaign group For Women Scotland protested the reforms outside the Scottish Parliament in September | PA Images

Gender recognition reform: Over half of survey respondents oppose changes

More than half of respondents to a Scottish Parliament survey on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill do not agree with the purpose of the proposed legislation.

The results have been published by the equalities committee as part of its scrutiny of the bill, which was lodged by the Scottish Government in March.

The bill seeks to make to process easier for trans people to legally change their gender, in line with international best practice.

A survey – which generated 10,800 individual responses – found 59 per cent of people opposed the bill, while 38 per cent supported it.

More than 60 per cent of respondents felt the government should not remove the requirement for a medical diagnosis to obtain a gender recognition certificate, though around a third supported such a move.

Similarly, just over 60 per cent of people felt the period a person must live in their acquired gender should not be reduced from two years to three months, while almost 40 per cent supported the change.

Among those opposed to the bill, respondents were concerned that “predatory males” would use reforms to the system to “gain access” to women’s spaces, including prisons, hospitals and refuges.

They also feared the “erosion of women’s rights” and “unintended consequences”.

However, those in favour of the bill said it would provide trans people with the “rights they deserve”, and stated that simplifying the process would make it "more straight forward" and less “intrusive” and “traumatic”.

Some of the people who support the legislation called for it to go further, with suggestions ranging from the legal recognition of non-binary people (those who identify as neither male nor female) or allowing under 16s to obtain a gender recognition certification if they have parental consent.

The equalities committee will consider these survey responses, as well as over 800 longer written submissions, as it takes evidence from stakeholders over the coming months.

The legislation is broadly expected to pass as a majority of MSPs have expressed support for the reforms.

Just under a third (30 per cent) of respondents to the survey lived outside of Scotland.

Over 350 responses were disregarded as they appeared to be duplicate submissions from the same individuals.

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