The British government in Westminster is threatening to block new gender recognition legislation passed in Scotland.
The new bill, which passed the Scottish Parliament on Thursday with 86 votes to 39 in favour, will allow people as young as 16 to change their gender by self-declaration – without needing a doctor’s certificate .
It will be the first country in the UK to introduce a self-declaration system.
Scottish lawmakers argue the legislation is necessary because it will make life easier for the country’s transgender community.
“Removing the need for a medical diagnosis for a trans person who wants to legally change their gender is actually one of the purposes of this legislation, because the need for it is one of the most intrusive, traumatizing and dehumanizing parts of the current system,” Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, said.
The new rules will require anyone applying for a gender recognition certificate to have lived full-time under their declared identity for three months. And this period is extended to six months if they are between 16 and 17 years old.
The old system required them to wait two years before making the change.
It also creates a three-month ‘cooling-off period’, during which a person can change their mind.
But after the bill passed, Scotland’s UK secretary Alister Jack said he could prevent it from getting royal assent, backing critics who said it could endanger women in same-sex spaces such as domestic abuse shelters.
“We will be looking closely at this, and the ramifications of the Equality Act 2010 and other UK-wide legislation, in the coming weeks – up to and including an order under of section 35 preventing the bill from getting royal assent if needed,” he said. in a report.
Westminster also raised concerns it would cause ‘legal chaos’ and ‘gender tourism’ in the UK, as it is unclear whether Scotland’s gender recognition certificate would be valid across the internal borders of the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in Spain, a similar bill passed the country’s lower house on Thursday.
The legislation would allow people as young as 16 to change their legal gender markers without medical supervision.
Minors between the ages of 12 and 13 will need permission from a judge to change their legal gender marker, while teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 will need to be accompanied by their legal guardians.
The current system in Spain requires a person to be diagnosed by multiple doctors with gender dysphoria. And in some cases, they must also prove that they have lived for two years as the gender they identify with or show that they have taken hormones.
Some of the country’s transgender rights groups say the law represents a “before and after” in LGBTQ+ rights.
The legislation will now go to the Spanish Senate for final approval.