Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland passes stage one, with overwhelming support

Scotland Trans Rights GRA

MSPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour for reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), passing its first parliamentary hurdle

“Scotland is showing England how it’s done.”


The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill has been approved at stage 1, with 88 voting in favour, 33 against and four abstentions.

Scotland Trans Rights GRA

The aim of the bill, which is being described my many as potentially a watershed moment for equality, is to help speed up the time and eliminate some of bureaucracy currently required to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) and drop the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

Also removing the panel process, it will allow trans people to self-identify, eliminating some of the traumatic hurdles currently in place, providing the applicant has lived as their gender for three months, rather than the two years it currently takes.

It also lowers the age for applying for a GRC from 18 to 16.


The Scottish government said the measures had been proposed as many view the current system as “traumatic and demeaning”.


If passed, it will help to make it less of a hurdle for transgender people in Scotland to simply acquire a GRC.


The legislative proposition has been a hot topic on social media, despite being overall supported by the public, due to some groups online sharing concerns that it may impact the safety of female services.


Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said while she was “sympathetic to these concerns,” there was “no evidence to suggest that the rights of women and girls are impacted negatively by the bill”.

She clarified: “The bill will not change the provision of single sex services, prisons or sport, because none of these are dependent on possession of a GRC.”


Colin Macfarlane, from Stonewall, said:

“This is another milestone in Scotland’s journey to join over 30 countries around the world who have moved to a demedicalised process for legal gender recognition, affording trans people dignity and humanity,” he said.

“We now look forward to working with all MSPs as the bill goes through the next steps of parliamentary scrutiny.”