Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland (he/him) said: ‘We welcome today’s commitment from the First Minister to introduce a bill to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in the upcoming year. Trans people across Scotland have been waiting far too long for equality, and this vital change will simply make it easier for trans people to live their daily lives by having the right gender recorded on their birth certificate. These reforms are long-awaited, with the process having gone through two public consultations over the last four years and leaving trans communities in limbo. While we still have some concerns over both three-month periods of time proposed in the new process, we will continue to work with the Scottish Government and MSPs to ensure that this reform is the best it can be for trans communities in Scotland.
‘We also welcome the news that the Scottish Government will centrally fund NHS gender identity service improvements for the next three years, and will set out a plan for transformation of the service by late 2021. All trans people should be able to access high quality, safe and effective healthcare when they need it, however current waiting times for first appointments are up to three years long. We have been calling on the Government to take urgent action to ensure NHS gender identity services are fit for purpose and meet the needs of trans communities, and we look forward to seeing the Scottish Governments plan for transformation of the service.
‘It is also very reassuring to hear the Programme for Government make a commitment to “protect LGBT people from harm by banning the damaging promotion and practice of conversion therapy, bringing forward legislation that is as comprehensive as possible within devolved powers by the end of 2023, if UK Government proposals do not go far enough.”
‘As well as this, we welcome commitments on funding the delivery of LGBTQ+ inclusive education, improving non-binary equality and wellbeing, and consulting on proposals to incorporate human rights into Scots law. At Stonewall Scotland, we will continue to work with all MSPs to ensure these promising commitments become a reality, and ensure that all lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people in Scotland are free to be themselves.’