Lib Dems oppose SNP plans to delay Gender Recognition Act Reform

The SNP Government announced yesterday that it was kicking the can down the road on gender recognition act reforms.

While acknowledging the need for reform, Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville told the Scottish Parliament:

I am a feminist, and I am deeply—and rightly—proud that this Government has taken such clear and concerted action to protect women’s rights and to promote gender equality. I have stated before, as has the First Minister, that I do not feel a conflict between my support for women’s rights and my support for trans rights. However, I know and I understand that many people do. It is important that we listen to and address those concerns.

This is a very disappointing decision not least because the government is pandering to scaremongering and misinformation. Trans people are suffering every day from abuse and discrimination. Ministers should look at evidence not media hyperbole.

Every day in the media, we see yet another attack on trans people and the organisations that support them. And every time these have been scrutinised – such as when the charity Mermaids was subjected to a review for funding which they eventually got – they have been found to be completely without foundation.

All GRA Reform does is make it easier for trans people to change their birth certificate. Scotland’s feminist organisations are all in favour of reform. Last year at Conference, Lib Dem Voice hosted a meeting at which Emma Ritch from Engender and James Morton from the Scottish Transgender Alliance explained how their organisations in Scotland had worked together for equal rights for all.

Christine Burns, who was at the forefront of campaigning for the law to be changed to protect transgender people from discrimination back in the 80s and 90s, highlighted the dangers of the Scottish Government’s approach:

Women are women. And trying to draw divisions between cis and trans over who gets women’s rights is exactly the divide and conquer tactics used by the people who want to diminish *all* women’s rights and all human rights.

The struggle for equality is one we should fight together.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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4 Comments

  • Sorry Greens 9.

  • As chair of LGBT+LDs, can I just thank the Scottish party for their prompt and excellent action on this, but also say I wish they didn’t have to take it, and that bigotry about trans people would just stop.

    Trans rights are human rights.

  • Laurence Cox 22nd Jun '19 - 11:59am

    On another Scottish Government issue, I am pleased to see their new bill to extend the franchise to all those legally resident in Scotland and to prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months:

    https://www.gov.scot/news/elections-representation-franchise-bill/

    I hope that both our Leadership candidates will campaign for a similar extension in England (I assume that it is a devolved matter so the Welsh Senedd and Stormont Parliament will need to legislate for their own states).

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