Scottish legal move could create a ‘transgender Gretna Green’ The Sunday Times 09.02.20

The original article is here.

Proposals to make it easier for people to change their legal sex status in Scotland could create a “transgender Gretna Green” for people to sidestep restrictions in England and Wales, campaigners say.

A Gender Recognition Reform Bill would reduce the age of eligibility from 18 to 16, cut the time required to live in their new gender from two years to six months and remove the need for medical treatment or a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

It is open to people born in Scotland, including an estimated 720,000 now living elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and people from the rest of the UK living, working and studying in Scotland.

Nicola Williams, founder of Fair Play for Women, a campaign group, said: “A change in the law in Scotland could impact families across the whole of the UK. If your teenage son or daughter selects a Scottish university they could apply for a new birth certificate in Freshers’ Week and start the second term as the opposite sex.”

Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend, which represents parents concerned about children transitioning, said: “Parents are worried. The government is giving the opportunity on the basis of no medical diagnosis of legally changing birth sex on a birth certificate at a time in life when they are extremely vulnerable and extremely influenced by the peer group they find themselves in.”

Introducing the proposals, Scottish cabinet minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said the “current system is viewed by many would-be applicants as demeaning, lengthy, stressful and expensive”.

She said the proposals were in line with policies in the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Malta, Denmark and Belgium, where “the impact has been positive for the trans community and without a detrimental impact on others”.

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