Gender Recognition Act

Consultation seeks views on simplifying legal processes.

Plans have been unveiled to make it simpler – and less intrusive – for transgender people to be legally recognised in their acquired gender.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equality Angela Constance has launched a consultation on proposals which would bring Scotland into line with international best practice including:

  • Replacing requirements to provide medical evidence and to live in an acquired gender for two years when seeking legal gender recognition, with a self-declaration system
  • Reducing the age at which recognition can be obtained to 16, and considering options for under-16s
  • Options for the legal recognition of non-binary people – people who do not identify as male or female

Ms Constance said:

“Scotland rightly has a reputation as one of the most progressive countries in relation to LGBTI legal and human rights equality in Europe – but we need to do more to progress equality for trans people. 

“Both our Fairer Scotland Action Plan and this year’s Programme for Government commit to renewing the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. This Act was once considered ahead of its time but it now needs updated so we can ensure we are creating a fairer Scotland for those who are transgender and non-binary.

“By holding a full and wide ranging consultation we can make sure that our law is fit for purpose and in line with international best practice. This is a vital conversation and one which will ensure transgender and non-binary people in Scotland are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.”


Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, it is possible to apply to a Gender Recognition Panel and obtain a full Gender Recognition Certificate.  A person with a full Gender Recognition Certificate is recognised legally as having acquired a new gender. The consultation proposes to streamline the process.

The 2004 Act describes an applicant’s acquired gender as the gender in which they are living (either the ‘male gender’ or the ‘female gender’).

The consultation can be found online.


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