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by Staff reporter
16 May 2022
Scottish Government has not addressed concerns about women's rights in GRA reform, policy analysts say

Scottish Government has not addressed concerns about women's rights in GRA reform, policy analysts say

Independent policy analysts MurrayBlackburnMackenzie (MBM) have accused the Scottish Government of failing to address concerns about how its proposed overhaul of the Gender Recognition Act will impact on women’s rights.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was tabled at Holyrood in March with the aim of making it easier for people to change their legally recognised gender.

The government’s position is that the current process is unnecessarily lengthy and invasive, but campaign groups have raised concerns that the changes could lead to an erosion of women’s rights.

The parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee will hold its stage-one evidence session on the bill tomorrow, with Scottish Trans Alliance, LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland and the Equality and Human Rights Commission all due to take part.

Ahead of the session taking place, MBM has published its own submission to the committee, noting that it believes the Scottish Government holds “contradictory positions” on how the GRA would interact with the Equality Act in terms of the lawful provision of single sex spaces, services and protections for women.

The organisation has also raised concerns that, among other things, “the potential cross-border effects of the legislation are wholly unclear and remain unaddressed by the Scottish Government” while “the bill contains no provision for individuals who have changed their sex in law but later detransition”.

MBM policy analyst Lisa Mackenzie said there is “very little evidence to suggest that the Scottish Government has engaged in any meaningful way with concerns about the potential impact of reforms on women’s sex-based rights and protections”.

“The draft legislation remains full of holes and there are countless unanswered questions on many different aspects of the bill,” she said.

“It now falls to MSPs to pick up the pieces and to compensate for a poor policy development process.”

The Scottish Conservatives are the only party that supports the view that the draft proposals do not protect women’s rights, with the SNP, Greens, Labour and LibDems all supporting the reforms as part of their 2021 manifestos.

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