The Scottish Parliament returns from recess on August 29 when the Scottish Government will announce its legislative programme for the next four years. Reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to include gender self-identification is likely to an SNP priority, in partnership with its expected coalition partners, the Scottish Greens. If and when the announce on GRA reform is made, we are asking everyone to contact their MSPs to ask crucial questions about what gender reform and the effect of self-ID on service provision and on women and girls in particular will be. Here is some guidance on the sort of questions you can ask. This is a resource that we will update as more information emerges, so please bookmark this page for future use
NHS Greater Glasgow and other NHS services currently allow for males to be accommodated in female-only wards based on declared self ID of gender (even fewer checks and balances than the proposed GRA process), thus making them no longer single sex. Nicola Sturgeon has previously stated the GRA amendments will not impact on single-sex services. Given this statement and the fact that some single-sex services have become mixed sex, how will the government ensure the GRA will not impact single-sex spaces?
When can we expect to read the report analysing the responses to the consultation on GRA? Many people participated in the consultation on the GRA amendments and a report was promised by March 31, 2021. It has not yet been published. Would you consider a failure to produce a report on the consultation a dereliction of the Nolan principles around objectivity and accountability?
MP Sarah Champion recently produced evidence that a significant number of sex offenders are using name change as a way to avoid being linked to their old name and crimes via online identity checks. Would people wishing to circumvent PVG checks or avoid detection that they are on the sex offenders’ register be able to use a reformed GRA to change their identity? What safeguards will be put in place to prevent this happening?
The draft Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, published in 2019, stated: “It will make it a criminal offence for anyone to lie or be fraudulent in order to obtain a GRC [gender recognition certificate].” This offence would be punishable by imprisonment or fine. What kind of evidence would be required to prove a GRC was obtained by fraud?
More people who have transitioned are coming forward who now feel it was the wrong process for them – this is known as detransition. There have been no formal studies indicating the number of people who have chosen to detransition. In fact, the only empirical study in the UK into detransitioners was blocked after being labelled transphobic. What process will be put in place in a system of gender self-ID that will allow detransitioners to return to their original birth certificate and be represented as the sex they are if they feel they have made a mistake?
Police Scotland already use a version of gender self-ID to record crimes, despite there being no legislative underpinning of such a policy. What impact will recording male crimes as female crimes have on safeguarding and understanding of criminal behaviour?
Will victims of sex crimes, especially children, be required to refer to the perpetrator as the opposite sex from their perception when giving evidence to police or courts?
Given that males, especially males who have gone through puberty, are on average bigger, stronger and faster than women, will the proposed GRA reform provide any exclusions for sport to ensure fairness to and safety for female participants?
All public authorities in Scotland, including the Scottish Government, have a general equality duty as part of the Equality Act 2010. Part of that duty is carrying out an equality impact assessment for any new policy or practice, including legislation. What equality impact assessments have been or will be carried out in relation to proposed gender recognition reform, in particular the impact gender self-ID specifically will have on women, children and those with religious beliefs (also protected by the Equality Act?
Has any assessment been done of the impact on healthcare provision and planning of making the process of changing the sex on a birth certificate and altering the sex marker on NHS records?