Vulnerable children will be pressured into making life-changing decisions they may later regret if the Scottish Government makes it easier for people to legally ‘change sex’.
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (ABC) issued the warning in a response to a consultation on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.
Scottish ministers want to allow people to ‘self-declare’ their sex, removing current safeguards of medical diagnosis and two years living as the opposite sex.
Other proposals include lowering the minimum age to obtain a ‘sex change’ certificate from 18 to 16 and giving legal recognition to those who claim to identify as neither male nor female – so-called non-binary.
ABC said: “We are concerned that young people under 18 and even under 16 might be invited to make a permanent change to their legal status via a mere self-declaration on a question as fundamental as gender identity”.
ABC also commented: “Legal transition for a teenager, like other aspects of social transition, may prove a harmful distraction from the psychological issues that might have been addressed in their own right by the young person working together with mental health professionals and others.”
Safety and privacy
The Christian Institute believes the proposal threatens the safety and privacy of women and girls, warning: “There have been disturbing incidents in Canada and the US of abusive men pretending to be women so they can go into ladies’ changing rooms or even women’s shelters.”
Simon Calvert, a Deputy Director at the Institute, added: “Politicians must stop and ask themselves if jumping on this bandwagon is really helping children.”
Please respond to the consultation here. The consultation ends at 5pm on 1 March 2018.