Gender Recognition reform


We have published detailed, evidence-based responses to the Scottish Government’s 2019 consultation on its draft Gender Recognition Bill, and more recently, to the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee call for views on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. Both can be accessed below.

Our view on sex and gender identity in policy-making is set out here:

Our work

Our additional work on gender self-identification laws and polices, including blogs, briefings and statements is set out below.

Academic articles

We have also published three academic papers on gender recognition, which can be accessed here:

Manifesto commitments on gender recognition

Selected media articles

Press article: Government should take closer look at gender law precedents (Herald, 16 Jan 2020)
This Herald article unpicks what is meant by ‘international best practice’ in relation to reforming the Gender Recognition Act. 

Press article: We need more clarity on gender rights debate from Scottish Government (Scotsman, 1 Jan 2020) 

“The Scottish Government is proposing to simplify the ­process for acquiring a gender ­recognition certificate (GRC), which allows a person to change the sex-marker on their birth certificate and has the broader legal effect of changing a person’s legal sex from man to woman (and vice versa). However the Government has yet to answer the central question, which is exactly how acquiring a GRC changes a person’s legal rights of access to single-sex services and occupations.”

Full article at: We need more clarity on gender rights debate from Scottish Government 1 January 2020

Letter to the Herald: There has been a lack of due diligence and scrutiny in policy-making in the field of gender identity (31 July 2019)

What is therefore felt genuinely by one group to be a series of new hard-won rights, based on gender identity, to another feels too often like an erosion of existing rights, based on sex, which has been agreed behind closed doors, with women left on the outside.

The lack of due diligence, democratic oversight or scrutiny surrounding recent changes represents a serious failure of policy-making across the public sector and leaves ministers and MSPs dealing with two groups, both feeling vulnerable and let down

Letter in response to Vic Valentine (Scottish Trans Alliance) on the introduction of gender self-identification policies without proper scrutiny and due diligence. 

Letter to the Times: Multi-signatory letter to the Times on GRA reform
(29 Jan 2019)
In January 2019 we organised a multi-signatory letter calling for a full Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) on GRA reform, which was covered as a front page news story (29 January 2019). The letter can be accessed here.

Letter to the Sunday Times: Call for a full Equality Impact Assessment on GRA reform (9 Sept 2018)
Full text below:

Assessment test

Ministers should be cautious about proposals to reform the 2004 Gender Recognition Act (2004) to allow a person to change legal sex based on self-identity alone. Having framed the debate exclusively as a transgender issue, the Scottish Government has not undertaken a full equality impact assessment (EQIA) of how any change could affect those with the legally protected characteristic of sex. 

In particular, it has not set out clearly its understanding of the relationship between the GRA and Equality Act 2010, and therefore how it expects its proposals to affect the practical operation of the single-sex protections set out in the 2010 Act. Nor has it risk-assessed the potential for misuse.

A full EQIA that engages with the serious concerns by women should be the next step

Dr Kath Murray, Lucy Hunter Blackburn and Lisa Mackenzie