Scot Govt puts radical gender legal changes on ice

The Scottish Government has stopped work on plans to make changing legal sex much easier.

As it focuses on combatting the coronavirus, MSPs are devoting their time to essential measures only.

There are no plans to delay the 2021 Holyrood elections, and so an amended Gender Recognition Act is less likely to become law before the end of this parliamentary term.


Government business manager Graeme Dey said Bills which are not “essential in the immediate term” were being ‘deprioritised’.

The Scottish Government has proposed making sweeping changes to allow anyone to change legal sex by self-declaration within just six months, remove the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and lower the age limit from 18 to 16.

Cabinet Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville had said in February that Ministers were “determined” to pass the controversial legislation before the next election.


Nicola Sturgeon came under fire last month from many within her own party over the proposals.

Finance Minister Kate Forbes and former adviser Kevin Pringle both urged caution over the radical changes, while SNP MP Joanna Cherry revealed she had been the victim of online abuse for stating that she believes changing the law puts women at risk.

The proposed changes were also unpopular with the public. A survey for The Sunday Times found fewer than one in three were in favour of reducing the age limit.

Also see:

Sturgeon cautioned over radical gender proposals

‘I regret my sex change, but Scot Govt will put more people on that path’

Scot Govt trans reform unleashes ‘gender free-for-all’

‘After gruesome trans surgery, I’ve returned to my birth sex’

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