Review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to our public consultation, held as part of review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. We were seeking views on proposals for reform of the legal gender recognition system in Scotland.

Executive Summary

1. This summary presents the key findings from the analysis of responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (the 2004 Act).

2. The language used in the analysis reflects that used by respondents.

Profile of respondents

3. In total, 15,697 responses were available for analysis, of which 15,532 were from individual members of the public and 165 were from groups or organisations. Overall, 49% of respondents to the consultation are resident in Scotland, with 38% resident in the rest of the UK and the remaining
13% resident elsewhere in the world.

Reforming the legal gender recognition system in Scotland

4. The majority of respondents, 60% of those answering the question, agreed with the proposal to introduce a self-declaratory system for legal gender recognition.

Comments by those who agreed with the proposal

5. Of the three most frequently made points, the first was that gender identity is a personal matter, with gender recognition sought by individuals who know their own mind and do not make such a choice without thought and commitment. Secondly, it was suggested that the existing gender recognition process takes too long, is too difficult or too expensive and needs to present less of a barrier. The third issue raised was that the existing process is demeaning, intrusive, distressing or stressful for applicants.

6. Respondents sometimes related personal experiences of the difficulties they had encountered when applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) or suggested that, although they had lived in their acquired gender for many years, they had not applied for a certificate because of the costs, the intrusive nature of the process, or the difficulties in providing the evidence required.

7. Other issues raised included that the existing gender recognition process may contribute to ill health, and to mental ill health in particular. It was argued that there should be no requirement to provide medical evidence or evidence of living in the acquired gender prior to application for a GRC and it was suggested that the introduction of a self-declaration system would bring Scotland in line with international best practice.

Comments by those who did not agree with the proposal

8. The most frequently raised issue was that self-declaration may pose a risk to women’s safety in spaces including toilets, changing rooms, hospital wards and refuges. Often associated with this concern was that the proposed self-declaration system may be open to abuse, exploitation or false declarations. Where respondents explained their concerns, it was often to suggest that the proposal would allow ‘any man’, ‘predatory men’ or ‘biological men’ to gain access to women’s spaces where they could pose a potential threat to women’s safety. Particular concerns were raised for the victims of rape or domestic abuse and also with respect to the safety of women in the prison system.

9. There was also a concern that the proposals represent a general erosion of the identity or the rights of natal women. More specific concerns were raised that trans women would be eligible to take natal women’s places on all-women short lists, on the boards of public bodies, or for other employment, quotas or awards. Potential problems for the future of women’s sport were noted, including at both a professional and amateur level.

10. Other issues raised included that the consultation paper fails to distinguish between sex and gender. It was argued that, determined by an individual’s sex chromosomes, biological sex cannot be changed, irrespective of surgery or other medical treatments. In contrast, gender was suggested to be a social construct – comprising a set of characteristics or behaviours that society has come to view as masculine or feminine. Some respondents thought that, rather than reinforcing these concepts, effort should instead be put into eradicating gender stereotypes altogether.

Statutory declaration

11. Half (50%) of all respondents who answered the question thought that applicants to the proposed gender recognition system in Scotland should have to provide a statutory declaration confirming they know what they are doing and intend to live in their acquired gender until death.

Those who agreed applicants should have to provide a statutory declaration

12. Amongst those who indicated agreement with the proposal for statutory declaration, respondents frequently reiterated concerns already discussed at Question 1, for example regarding their fears for the safety or rights of natal women, or that sex and gender are being conflated. While some noted their view that any safeguards are better than none, others expressed a view that a statutory declaration is insufficient or should be additional to other requirements.

13. The second most frequently made point was that a change of legal gender is a very serious issue, and that a statutory declaration would ensure it is treated as such. It was also suggested that such a declaration is important in documenting informed consent. The importance of deterring frivolous applications or guarding against other abuse of the system was raised and a specific suggestion was that consideration should be given to creating a criminal offence of making a false statement.[1]

Those who disagreed that applicants should have to provide a statutory declaration

14. The most frequently made comment was that the declaration proposed would not accommodate those people who understand their gender identity to be fluid. Almost all respondents making this point had agreed with the proposal for self-declaration at Question 1. It was also argued that people may change their minds, the understanding being that the declaration as proposed would prevent this, with further points including that an individual’s understanding of their gender may change over time or that a person has a right to identify as they choose.

15. Respondents commented on the phrase ‘until death’, arguing that nobody can know what they will do or feel for the rest of their lives or that expecting anyone to declare that they will adopt one gender on this basis is unreasonable. Respondents sometimes also drew a parallel with marriage.

16. Other issues raised included that a declaration is not needed, including because there is no evidence of misuse of the process where self-declaration is in use elsewhere and there is no reason to expect there to be a problem in Scotland.

Number of times a person can seek legal recognition

17. The largest proportion of respondents, 48% of those answering the question, thought there should not be a limit on the number of times a person can get legal gender recognition. However, 42% thought there should and 9% did not know.

Those who thought there should not be a limit

18. The most frequently raised points were that people and their circumstances change and that for some people, gender is fluid, can evolve over time, is on a spectrum or is non-binary. In these cases it was suggested any limit set might be exceeded by a small number of people, leaving such individuals with the prospect of being ‘stuck’ in the wrong gender.

19. It was also argued that concerns about frivolous behaviour or fraudulent abuse of the proposed self-recognition system are ill founded, or that there is no evidence of such problems elsewhere, and that imposing a limit on such grounds would be unjustified. Respondents who opposed a numerical limit on the number of times gender can be legally recognised sometimes suggested alternative restrictions that they would or might approve. The most common proposal was there could be a minimum time between applications.

Those who thought there should be a limit

20. Reasons given for a view that there should be a limit included that this is necessary to ensure the process is a serious one, to discourage frivolous or ill-considered changes, or to reduce the risk of changes made for fraudulent or abusive purposes. In addition, small numbers of respondents suggested that to allow multiple changes risks undermining the credibility of the process, that anyone requesting multiple changes may have underlying issues that are not being addressed or would benefit from other support or counselling rather than further changes of gender.

21. Respondents sometimes suggested the number of changes that they considered to be appropriate. By far the most frequently suggested limit, was that a maximum of two changes should be allowed. It was noted that this would allow an individual to change their mind and to return to their birth sex.

Requirements in relation to an applicant’s place of birth or residence

22. A majority of respondents, 55% of those answering the question, thought that any self-declaration system for legal gender recognition should be open to everyone. Of the remaining respondents, 33% thought it should only be available to people whose birth or adoption was registered in Scotland or who are resident in Scotland and 12% did not know.

Open to everyone

23. The most frequently made point was that trans people should have equal rights to have their gender recognised irrespective of their nationality, or that to do otherwise would be discriminatory or potentially divisive. It was also suggested that granting the right to self-declaration to everyone is the right thing to do or that, by so doing, Scotland can demonstrate liberal and inclusive values. The value of extending self-declaration to people from countries where recognition of their gender identity is not available or where individuals may be persecuted for being trans was referenced.

24. The opportunity for residents of other parts of the UK to have their gender legally recognised in Scotland was seen as beneficial and some expressed a hope that introduction of self-declaration in Scotland would encourage other jurisdictions to move forward with their own gender recognition procedures. Attention was also drawn to particular groups of people who might or would be excluded if gender recognition was not made open to everyone, with asylum seekers and refugees mentioned most frequently.

Only to people whose birth or adoption was registered in Scotland, or who are resident in Scotland

25. The most frequently made point was general disagreement with the proposal to allow self-declaration of gender at all. Otherwise, respondents argued that Scotland cannot, or should not try to, make laws that extend beyond its borders or that affect the lives of people who are not its own nationals. In an associated point, a smaller number of respondents argued that the proposed legislation should not be extended to other parts of the UK ‘by the back door’, without the opportunity for separate consultation or approval.

26. The risk of encouraging gender reassignment tourism was suggested as a reason for restricting access to self-declaration. A related point concerning potential costs (most frequently to the NHS) was also made.

16 and 17-year olds

27. A majority of respondents, 61% of those answering the question, agreed that people aged 16 and 17 should be able to apply for and obtain legal recognition of their acquired gender. Of the remaining respondents, 37% disagreed and 2% did not know.

Those who agreed with 16 and 17-year olds being able to obtain legal recognition

28. The most frequently made comment was that the proposal is in line with other age-related rights and legal provisions in Scotland. Some noted that, to all intents and purposes, 16 and 17-year olds are now recognised as having full adult rights and responsibilities in Scotland.

29. On a similar theme, respondents commented that, by age 16, young people know their own minds and have the capacity and understanding to make their own choices and decisions. Connected to this, respondents commented that children can be aware from an early age that they are trans. A smaller number of respondents noted that they themselves had been clear that they were trans by the age of 16.

30. Respondents also highlighted ways in which being able to obtain a GRC could help young people in moving into adulthood and the positive impact it could have on 16 and 17-year old’s health and wellbeing. Also connected with helping trans young people in their transition into adulthood, a smaller number of respondents suggested that having their gender recognised will make it easier for young people to thrive in education or employment.

Those who disagreed with 16 and 17-year olds being able to obtain legal recognition

31. The most frequently made comment was that 16 years old is too young to be able to apply for and obtain legal recognition of their acquired gender. It was suggested that 16 and 17-year olds are often still going through puberty and may not yet be clear about their gender identity or sexuality. Further points included that gay or lesbian young people may see themselves as trans rather than recognising and accepting their sexuality. It was suggested that gay or lesbian young people may face bullying or discrimination because of their sexuality and that they may decide, or be encouraged to decide, they are trans instead.

32. There were also concerns that young people may be coming under undue pressure or influence from social media. It was suggested that they are being exposed to messages hailing transition as the answer to the normal emotional confusion of going through the teenage years and that young girls may be especially vulnerable to these types of messages.

33. Respondents also commented on the nature of the decision that young people would be making and it was suggested that making irrevocable decisions at a young age could lead to life-long problems. There was specific reference to the long-term effects treatment may have on a young person’s fertility and the irrevocability of any physical changes that take place. There was also a concern that, particularly if someone comes to feel that they have made the wrong decision, there could be a very serious impact on a young person’s mental health.

People aged under 16

34. The most frequently chosen option, selected by 31% of those answering the question, was Option 1 – do nothing for children under 16. Otherwise, both Option 3 (parental application) and Option 5 (applications by capable children) were selected by 23% of those answering the question. Options 2 (court process), 4 (minimum age of 12) and the ‘none of these’ option were selected by smaller numbers of respondents (6%, 7% and 8% respectively).

35. Option 1 – do nothing for children under 16: reasons given very much reflected those raised by respondents who disagreed with 16 and 17-year olds being able to obtain legal recognition of their acquired gender. They included that being aged 15 or under is simply too young to make such a fundamental decision about how to live your life. It was suggested that children do not have the necessary life experience or reasoning skills to come to such a profound decision.

36. Option 2: court process: the most frequently given reason for selecting Option 2 was that the court process is a child-centred one which also allows all views to be considered. It was also suggested the court process would offer very necessary protections for children whose parents do not support their wish to transition.

37. Option 3: parental application: the most frequently made point was to note that, in addition to parental application there needs to be a mechanism for children with parents who do not support their child’s transition. Some respondents also noted that children who are cared for by statutory services will also need a route to having their gender recognised. A number of respondents suggested that Option 5 – application by a capable child, should run in parallel with Option 3 and could be accessed by children whose decision was not supported by their parents.

38. Option 4: minimum age of 12: In terms of Option 4 itself, the most frequent comment was that trans children may well be aware they are trans by the age of 12. In their further comments a small number of respondents spoke of their own experience and of being aware that they were trans at an early age. It was suggested that this can be a watershed moment for a trans child and that allowing children to know that their body can match their mind would help with trans children’s survival rates.

39. Option 5: application by a capable child: Most frequently, respondents commented that not all children can rely upon having supportive parents and that those who do not must have a mechanism for transitioning into the right gender. Further comments included that this would allow children, including those whose parents are not supportive, to exercise self-determination and develop a sense of their own legitimate identity as a trans child.

40. None of these: Respondents most frequently noted the importance of ensuring that children are fully supported in coming to any decision, be that to transition or not. In terms of how children and young people should be supported, counselling was sometimes suggested, as was therapeutic support and occasionally mental health related treatment. On a similar theme, it was suggested that children would be best supported by society placing less or no emphasis on gender, and in particular the associated stereotyping of both children and adults.

Spousal consent

41. A majority of respondents, 70% of those answering the question, thought that it should be possible to apply for and obtain legal gender recognition without any need for spousal consent. A further 24% of those answering did not think it should be possible and 6% did not know.

It should be possible

42. The majority of respondents who thought it should be possible and commented, believed that people have personal autonomy and a right to self-determination, including regarding their gender identity. Respondents commented on people being able to make their own choices, particularly about an issue that is so fundamental to wellbeing and happiness.

43. Respondents also commented on the potential for spousal consent to cause serious problems, most frequently in relation to abuse or manipulation. On a similar theme, a small number of respondents raised concerns that spousal consent could be used as a bargaining tool in any divorce, particularly in relation to child residence and contact arrangements and any financial settlement.

It should not be possible

44. The most frequently raised point was that when people enter a marriage they are entering a legal arrangement or contract and that it is not reasonable to change the terms of that contract without the agreement of both parties. Further comments included that it is also not reasonable to change the nature of the contract – for example into a same sex marriage when it had been a mixed sex marriage or vice versa – without both parties agreeing.

45. Other points made included that removing spousal consent would be an attack on the sanctity of marriage and would undermine the role of the family.

Civil partnership

46. A majority of respondents, 73% of those answering the question, thought people should be able to remain in a civil partnership if one of them obtained a full GRC.

Those who favoured being able to remain in a civil partnership

47. By a very substantial margin the most frequently made point was that civil partnership should in any case be extended to mixed sex couples and this would remove any problems created by one partner obtaining a full GRC.

48. The only other frequently made point was that people should be able to remain in a civil partnership because to expect otherwise would be variously unnecessary, unreasonable, unfair and could be distressing. In line with comments made on opening up civil partnerships to mixed sex couples, it was noted that some people may not wish to be married, including because they see it as a misogynistic institution or as having religious overtones.

Those who did not favour being able to remain in a civil partnership

49. Respondents most frequently suggested that civil partnerships were always designed for same sex couples and should remain so. Further points raised included that, since the legislation does not allow opposite sex civil partnership, the law would need to be changed and this would open the door to opposite sex civil partnership for all.

Grounds of divorce

50. Half of respondents, 50% of those answering the question, thought that legal gender recognition should not stop being a ground of divorce or dissolution. Of the remaining respondents, 34% thought it should and 16% did not know.

Gender recognition should not stop being a ground

51. The most frequently made point was that if someone transitions while in a marriage or civil partnership they are effectively a different person to the one their spouse married and this, in turn, means the marriage contract has been broken.

52. Further comments included that to change the nature of someone’s marriage, from either a mixed sex marriage to a same sex marriage or vice versa, means that the original marriage, in whichever form, no longer exists in any real sense. It was also suggested that gender transition, and in particular obtaining a full Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), must remain a specific ground of divorce or dissolution.

Gender recognition should stop being a ground

53. Respondents most frequently suggested that the current ground of divorce, where the ‘marriage has broken down irretrievably’ is sufficient. Specifically, that this definition is sufficiently broad that there is no need for a specific ground of gender recognition.

54. It was suggested that the ground discriminates against trans people for their gender identity and to have legal gender recognition as a standalone ground of divorce would be discriminatory. It was also suggested that it may contravene an individual’s right to privacy if they are required to disclose their gender status, or their gender status is disclosed, when divorcing.

Other aspects of the 2004 Act – Privacy issues

55. The consultation paper explains that Section 22 of the 2004 Act makes it an offence for a person who has acquired ‘protected information’ in an official capacity to disclose that information. A majority of respondents, 52% of those answering the question, did not know whether any changes to Section 22 are necessary. Of the remaining respondents, 33% thought no changes are necessary changes and 15% thought that they are.

Those who did not know

56. The most frequently made point was that they did not have sufficient knowledge or information to have a view on this question, or that they did not understand the question.

No changes are necessary

57. The most frequently made comment was that the individual’s right to privacy should be paramount and that it is for the individual to disclose their trans status or to consent to disclosure. It was also suggested that the existing exemptions are adequate.

58. Other frequently raised issues were that adding additional exemptions may undermine the current protections and that the provisions with respect to crime prevention, detection or recording are important and should remain.

There should be changes

59. The most frequent suggestion was that there should be an additional requirement for disclosure with respect to access to women only spaces, sports, shortlists or employment quotas, with a number of respondents specifically referencing existing sex-based protections under the Equality Act 2010.

60. Alternatively, it was suggested that one or more of the exemptions listed in the consultation paper should be removed. Most frequently suggested for removal was the exemption relating to appointment of a minister of religion. Amongst arguments made for such a course of action was that it is an offence under the Equality Act to discriminate against trans people in employment, and this exemption could facilitate such discrimination.

Recognition in Scotland of a person whose acquired gender has been recognised under foreign law

61. A majority of respondents, 67% of those answering the question, thought that a person who has been recognised in their acquired gender under the law of another jurisdiction should be automatically recognised in Scotland without having to make an application. Of the remaining respondents, 26% thought they should not be recognised automatically and 7% did not know.

Recognition should be automatic

62. The most frequently made comment was that individuals should not need to reapply when their gender has already been recognised elsewhere, or that requiring a further application would be unnecessarily bureaucratic. It was also suggested that this would be a fair or common sense approach, or to reduce the administrative burden.

63. The potentially harmful effects on an individual if required to reapply for legal recognition already obtained elsewhere were also highlighted. It was suggested that the process of gender recognition may be both stressful and expensive, and that it would be unwelcoming, distressing or contrary to an individual’s human rights to require a second process to be completed.

Recognition should not be automatic

64. Respondents noted that other countries may have legal systems or gender recognition systems that are either of unknown rigour or are less robust than those in place in Scotland. They saw this as being a reason for not granting automatic recognition. In connected points, respondents argued that other jurisdictions must have comparable or more robust criteria for gender recognition to those in place in Scotland for automatic recognition to be granted.

65. It was also suggested that the laws of other countries cannot be allowed to determine decisions made in Scotland, that anyone living in Scotland must be subject to Scottish law or that it would be inconsistent to recognise one law made in another country but not others.

Non-binary people

66. A majority of respondents, 62% of those answering the question, thought that Scotland should take action to recognise non-binary people. Of the remaining respondents, 33% did not think Scotland should take action and 4% did not know.

Those who agreed

67. The most frequently made comment was that the non-binary gender exists and that being non-binary is just as valid as being one of the binary genders or being a trans woman or man. Those raising this issue sometimes noted that they themselves are non-binary. Others noted that they have non-binary partners, family members or friends. Respondents commented on difficulties they themselves or those known to them experience in their day-to-day lives. Respondents also noted the negative impact this can have on their feeling of self-worth and their mental health.

68. Respondents felt that it was important for Scotland to take an inclusive approach in which non-binary people had the same rights as everyone else. Further comments included that non-binary people deserve respect and recognition and that enshrining this approach in law could help wider society take a more accepting and inclusive approach. Many also highlighted the importance of allowing people self-determination and to make their own choice as to their gender identity.

Those who disagreed

69. The most frequently made comment was that humans are sexually dimorphic and that, apart from a small number of people who are intersex, everyone is born male (with XY sex chromosomes) or female (with XX sex chromosomes). Some went on to comment that, irrespective of how someone identifies or any other action they take, people will always remain male or female because of their chromosomal makeup.

70. Commenting on gender rather than sex, it was suggested that most, if not all, people are non-binary in that they do not conform fully to gender-based stereotypes. It was also suggested that gender is a social construct.

71. Other comments focused on the practical implications of recognising non-binary people. The most frequently made of these points centred around the use of sex-specific services – and there were queries as to whether a third set of non-binary services would be required, or whether a non-binary person would be able to choose which sex-specific service they wished to use.

Options for giving recognition to non-binary people

72. The consultation paper set out a range of options, with respondents able to select as many as they wished. The most frequently chosen option, selected by 75% of those answering the question, was Option 4 – full recognition using the proposed self-declaration system. Options 1 (changes to administrative forms) and 6 (amendment of the Equality Act 2010) also received a high level of support, being chosen by 68% and 62% respectively. Option 3 (limited document changes) was selected by 40% of those answering the question, while the least frequently chosen options were Option 2 (book of non-binary identity), Option 5 (incremental approach) or None of the above (17%, 14% and 13% respectively).

73. The three most frequently selected combinations of options were:

  • Options 1, 3, 4 and 6. This combination of options was preferred by around 1 in 4 of those answering Question 13.
  • Options 1, 4 and 6. This combination of options was preferred by around 1 in 8.
  • Option 4 only. This option was preferred by around 1 in 10.

74. Option 1: Changes to administrative forms: comments tended to centre around the importance of non-binary people not having to misgender themselves on forms. It was suggested that without Option 1, there would be little to gain from someone being recognised as non-binary if they were still constantly misgendered in documents.

75. Respondents sometimes noted that they saw Option 1 as being part of the package of options that would provide the necessary legal protections and recognition for non-binary people. This was sometimes linked to being equivalent to the protections proposed for trans people.

76. Option 2: Book of Non-Binary Identity: the vast majority who commented explained why they had not selected this option. It was suggested that a Book of Non-Binary Identity would be an expensive waste of time which would only be symbolic, and which would bring no real benefit to non-binary people. Others had concerns that any record could be misused, particularly if made publicly available.

77. Option 3: Limited document changes: a frequently made comment was that it will be important that non-binary people are able to obtain documents in line with their legal gender. This was frequently connected with the changes to administrative forms as at Option 1. Some respondents went on to suggest that the changes should not be limited and that all identity documents with a gender marker should carry an option to recognise non-binary identities.

78. Option 4: Full recognition using proposed self-declaration system: respondents sometimes suggested this was the most important of the options. The reasons respondents gave for seeing Option 4 as the most important included that non-binary people should have access to the same legal gender recognition process as trans people and that it is the option which would do most to advance recognition of non-binary people in Scotland. It was also suggested that having different arrangements for trans and non-binary people would be confusing.

79. Option 5: Incremental approach: some of those who had chosen Option 5 and commented felt that the scale of the possible changes meant that an incremental approach was probably the only viable option, particularly given the need to determine the legal implications of full recognition. Others who had selected Option 5 raised similar concerns to those who had not. These concerns centred around an incremental approach leading to unnecessary and unreasonable delays, to the detriment of non-binary people.

80. Option 6: Amendment of the Equality Act 2010: respondents sometimes suggested that updating the Equality Act 2010 will be an important, if not vital, legislative step for non-binary people. However, it was noted that while the Gender Recognition Act 2004 has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the Equality Act 2010 has not. It was suggested that the Scottish Government will need to lobby actively for amendment of the 2010 Act to include non-binary people.

81. None of the above options: comments tended to reflect those made by respondents who had disagreed with non-binary people being recognised. These included that non-binary does not exist, that sex is binary and that any information gathered should record sex not gender.

Legal impacts

82. The majority of respondents, 53% of those answering the question, were not aware of any additional impacts that the Scottish Government had not identified. Of the remaining respondents, 40% did not know and only 7% said they were aware of additional impacts.

83. Equality Act 2010, single sex spaces and women’s rights: respondents sometimes referenced the impact the proposals could have on the sex-based protections provided by the Equality Act 2010. It was suggested that it will be vital to consider the legal and other impacts of the proposals on single sex spaces and the women and girls using them.

84. Data collection, including crime statistics: respondents raised concerns about the impact on the collection of sex-based data, including that introducing a non-binary option would mean that important sex-based data is no longer accurate. The use of this data to plan key services including health-related services was also highlighted.

85. Other areas with possible legal implications: relatively few respondents suggested additional areas in which there may be legal implications which need to be considered. Those areas of law which were suggested included pensions, asylum and immigration, and the law covering the armed forces or the Police.

Impact Assessments

86. Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment: the predominant view was that the potential number of those self-declaring and the potential costs involved have been under estimated. However, others considered the estimates appropriate. A small number of respondents commented on the absence of estimated costs for the different options for recognising non-binary people.

87. Partial Equalities Impact Assessment: The most frequently made point was that, contrary to the partial EQIA, the proposals for self-declaration will have a profound impact on women. It was argued that there needs to be a specific assessment of the impact on women and girls.

88. The majority of those who commented on religion or belief argued that the proposed changes will impact women whose religion or beliefs prevent them from sharing spaces with men. Respondents who commented on sexual orientation most frequently referred to a negative effect of gender reassignment for the lesbian community. Issues raised by those respondents who commented on disability included querying assumptions made with respect to mental health. On gender reassignment, the most frequent comment was that trans rights should be protected. However, a substantial majority of those making this point added that this should not be at the expense of women’s rights.

89. Partial Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment: Respondents most frequently raised concerns that the proposals would not be in the best interests of children, with particular concerns that children who do not conform to gender stereotypes are being pushed towards gender transition. General comments on the partial CRWIA itself included that it is based on the assumption that this law only impacts the transgender community and has virtually no adverse impact on others.

Further comments about the review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

90. Further comments not covered elsewhere in the report tended to focus on how the proposals had been developed and the consultation paper itself. It was claimed that the Scottish Government had sought the views of trans organisations but not those of women’s groups. It was also suggested that the questions were asked in such a way as to affirm the Scottish Government’s position.

91. A range of points was made about the consultation process and the analysis of responses including that the consultation was not adequately advertised, many people are still not aware of the changes that are being proposed and that the consultation should have been restricted to those who live in Scotland.


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