Scottish Government plans to make it easier for people to change gender have been delayed and watered down, it emerged yesterday.
Equalities Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the government’s proposal to reform gender recognition legislation would only take place after another exercise seeking the views of the public.
Three years ago the SNP promised to review the law following concerns that the process to enable trans men and women to have legal recognition of their “lived gender” was traumatic and stressful.
The Scottish Government proposed to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004, which enabled people to self-declare their gender without reassignment surgery.
Last year, ministers held a 16-week consultation on reform.
Yesterday Ms Somerville proposed another consultation, which would happen before a new draft Gender Recognition (Scotland) Bill later this year.
Currently applications to change gender require individuals to be considered by a panel. It had been proposed to replace requirements for medical evidence and for an applicant to live in an acquired gender for two years.
But Ms Somerville said individuals should still be required to live in their acquired gender for at least six months before getting a gender recognition certificate.
She also said that she did not intend to extend legal gender recognition to non-binary people, who do not identify as male or female, at this stage.
Previously it had been proposed that the minimum age for legal gender recognition should be reduced from 18 to 16 and extending it to under 16s would be examined. However lowering it below the age of 16 would not be part of the new bill, which would only consider whether the minimum age of applicants should be reduced from 18 to 16.
Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton said the lack of reform was “harming” trans people and expressed dismay at the delay saying it seemed “unlikely” the legislation would be passed this parliament.