Scot Govt sidelines ‘legally illiterate’ trans schools guidance

The Scottish Government has sidelined controversial and misleading transgender guidance for schools but will produce its own.

It was revealed in 2017 that the Government had backed the guidance by LGBT Youth Scotland, but distanced itself after The Christian Institute threatened legal action.

‘Supporting Transgender Young People’ advises teachers to allow children to use the changing facilities and toilets of their choice.

‘Legally illiterate’

The Scottish Government said in March this year that the guidance would not be reviewed.

But last week Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, said that “the complexity of these issues means valid concerns have been raised”.

The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert said the original guidance was “legally illiterate, effectively telling teachers that trans rights override the rights of everyone else”.

He added: “We’re very pleased the guidance has been ditched and we hope that we, and others who highlighted the problems with this guidance such as Women and Girls in Scotland, will be properly consulted over the drafting of replacement guidance.”

Legal action

The guidance was published in November 2017, and the Scottish Government was criticised over its logo appearing on the cover.

The Institute threatened legal action in May last year.

It warned that the guidance was misleading, and gave no regard for the rights of parents, the privacy of teachers and students, and exemptions in the Equality Act.

Following the pressure, the Scottish Government backtracked in July, saying it did not take “any decision to formally endorse the guidance”, while LGBT Youth Scotland said the inclusion of the logo was “an error”.

Gender recognition delay

The Scottish Government has also delayed plans to ‘streamline’ the process of changing sex.

Currently, those wishing to legally ‘change sex’ must have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and to have lived as a member of the opposite sex for two years.

But ministers want to make the process easier, reducing the waiting period to six months (three of which will be a ‘cooling off period’), and removing the need for medical approval.

Another consultation is to take place, with the public to be asked whether allowing those as young as 16 to change sex should be considered.

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