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Message from our Chief Executive: GRA reform

Message from our Chief Executive Dr Mhairi Crawford to young people about today’s announcement that certain pieces of legislation will be paused, including Gender Recognition Act reform.  

"As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Scottish Government has had to take some extraordinary measures to pause several pieces of legislation that were due to be introduced this year. 

Sadly, this includes the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) reform, along with several other proposed Bills. We know that this will be a disappointing blow for many trans young people. 

Lots of trans young people and their allies have invested time and effort into bringing about this change. During the campaign for reform, the community have increasingly had to deal with inaccurate and at times deliberately misleading messaging about the proposed reform. These messages have been hurtful to trans young people and the wider community. This is clearly unacceptable, and we know it will make today’s announcement even harder for some.

Many people, including LGBT young people and our partners, have invested effort into gathering data and developing responses to the Scottish Government consultation. All this hard work is not lost. These responses remain valid and will be helpful when the reform is progressed.  

The circumstances surrounding today’s announcement are unprecedented. Across the world an enormous effort is being made to fight the outbreak of COVID-19, which involves massive changes to all our daily lives now, and for a significant time to come. Globally, people are facing huge challenges and are making sacrifices to look after others. While it is disappointing that progress in GRA reform has been halted, and that trans people are being required to accept a further delay to progress their rights, we acknowledge that the Scottish Government needs to focus resources on dealing with the current pandemic and supporting the NHS. 

We know that during crises, minority and disadvantaged communities are often most affected. Through our direct interactions with young people via our support services, we know that trans young people are one of the groups being hit hard by social isolation. Therefore, trans rights are at the forefront of our thoughts now and must not be forgotten.

There are lots of uncertainties about the coming months, but we’ll continue to address misinformation, working closely with young people, and provide much needed support to trans young people. We share the concerns raised today by members of our Gender Recognition Youth Commission that these changes may happen after the 2021 election, and this could impact on what is delivered.  When the time comes, we will hold the Scottish Government to its word on the commitment to reform the GRA and improve the current process for trans people. We will be ready to support progressive legislative change in order to make Scotland the best place to grow up for trans young people. 

Need support following this announcement? Get in touch!" - Dr Mhairi Crawford


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