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April 13, 2023
The Scottish government announced this week that it will challenge the United Kingdom’s decision to block Scotland’s gender recognition bill, which aims to make changing an individual’s gender identity easier and more humane.
The United Kingdom invoked section 35 of the Scotland Act of 1998 for the first time earlier this week when it decided to block the bill, prompting an outcry from Scottish leadership.
The bill would decrease the eligible age for legally changing your gender identity from 18 to 16 years of age, and would decrease the waiting period for having lived as your preferred gender from two years to six months before being able to legally file for the change. The bill also eliminates the requirement of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to change your gender identity in Scotland.
The bill was blocked in Westminster on Monday, with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack arguing that giving the bill royal assent could result in “adverse impacts” on UK equality law, with this issue being a reserved matter, meaning UK parliament has the final say.
Jack gave a statement on Tuesday saying he had weighed the decision heavily. He made a statement in the Commons, saying, “It is our assessment that the Bill would have a serious adverse impact among other things on the operation of the Equality Act 2010. Those adverse effects include impacts on the operation of single-sex clubs, associations and schools and protections such as equal pay.”
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, told BBC on Tuesday, “In [challenging the UK decision] we will be vigorously defending something else, and that is the institution of the Scottish parliament and the ability of MSPs, democratically elected, to legislate in areas of our competence. In short, we’ll be defending Scottish democracy.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS