Stonewall are “saddened” by the Prime Minister’s decision to use trans people’s lives as a “political football”


For the first time in the history of devolution the UK government has used section 35 of the Scotland Act to block the gender recognition reform bill which would have seen transformative progress for trans rights in Scotland.

The bill was set to make the process to obtain gender recognition certificates much easier, with the obligation for a medical diagnosis removed and the minimum age requirement altered from 18 to 16. Stonewall UK have said:

“This is a piece of legislation that simply seeks to make the process for legally recognising a trans man or trans women’s gender more respectful and straightforward … Trans people are at high risk of experiencing hate crime. They wait years and years to get a first appointment with healthcare specialists that can support their transition. Trans children are bullied in our schools. Trans adults are bullied in their workplaces.”

On top of the serious concerns that many share surrounding the impact to block this reform on LGBTQIA rights, constitutional outrage has followed Rishi Sunak’s decision. Nicola Sturgeon stated there are absolutely “no grounds” on which to unprecedentedly block this legislation. She later tweeted:

“This is a full-frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish parliament and it’s ability to make its own decisions on devolved matters.”

The Scottish secretary, Alister Jack, defended the British government stating:

“After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation.”

Nancy Kelley, chief executive of Stonewall, said: “It is a matter of grave and profound regret that the prime minister has allowed trans people’s lives to be used as a political football. This is not governing with compassion.”

Stonewall, among others, worry that this unprecedented move is simply a repetition of painful histories, drawing parallels between the enactment of Section 35 and the repressive Section 28 implemented by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1988, preventing local governments in the UK from the promotion of homosexuality.

The charity yesterday published that 14,000 people wrote to their MPs in support of the bill as part of the Treat Trans People With Respect campaign.

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