Children as young as twelve should be allowed to change their legal sex on their birth certificate, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner has said.
Bruce Adamson also said they should be allowed to make the life-changing decision without parental approval.
The comments came as the Scottish Government considers liberalising the law to make it easier for transgender people to ‘change sex’.
Its consultation on the radical plans closed in March, and it is currently analysing the responses.
Proposals include introducing a system to allow people to legally change sex through ‘self-declaration’, and lowering the minimum age for doing so to just 16.
Adamson, a former lawyer and family law specialist, claimed that denying children the right to legally change sex could breach the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
However, the Faculty of Advocates said a child could be unduly influenced by a single person, referencing a case in England of a boy who was forced to live as a girl by his mother.
‘Duty of care’
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of parents group Transgender Trend, said Adamson’s comments betray “a complete lack of understanding” of the pressures “on all non-conforming teenagers now to identify themselves as ‘transgender’”.
She added: “This response is a failure in duty of care.”
The Free Church of Scotland also signalled its opposition to such a move, branding it irresponsible and adding that it would cause distress to families and confusion to teenagers.
Institute Deputy Director for Communications Ciaran Kelly warned that the plans put young, vulnerable people at risk.
He said: “Increasingly, young people are expressing profound regret at the damage being done to their physical and mental health by being pushed into hormone therapy and surgery.
“Making it easier to legally change sex through self-definition and removing parents from the picture is a recipe for even greater harm.”