Youth Commission on Gender Recognition

Our new Youth Commission on Gender Recognition, comprising 15 members who were recruited through a national application process, met for the first time on Saturday.  The commission’s main focus will be improving the legal rights and recognition for the trans community in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is currently preparing a nationwide consultation on Gender Recognition which is due to be released in the late autumn of this year. Therefore, the Commission’s first point of task will be to develop a consultation workshop to be distributed and facilitated across LGBT-specific youth groups to capture young people’s views on the Gender Recognition Act (2004) and the changes they would like to see.

As LGBT Youth Scotland stated in our manifesto in 2015, we have three specific area of focus. The changes in gender recognition that young people would like to see are:

  • The removal of psychiatric diagnosis and for the process to be through self-declaration.
  • The age of obtaining gender recognition to be lowered to 16.
  • The legal recognition of non-binary people.

We asked our Youth Commission members what having legal gender recognition would mean for them:

“It would relieve stress from a lot of application processes as well as making me equal in the eyes of the law. When being denied gender recognition, I am being denied equal opportunities to those of my non-trans peers. In my eyes that is discrimination.”

“It would validate me and I wouldn’t need to out myself constantly in situations where my birth certificate is needed.”

“Inconsistent documentation means (I feel) I can’t apply for a job. I’m afraid to do anything that requires identification; travelling, renting or going out with friends. I constantly feel like I’m illegal.”

The commission also discussed seeking improvements in gender recognition panels and meeting with different children’s and young people’s rights organisations to make them more aware of the barriers for trans young people.

We have a very proactive, knowledgeable and motivated group of young people as part of the Commission and we are excited to support them in improving circumstances for the trans community in Scotland.