The Scottish Government is under fire for its proposals to make it much easier for people to change legal sex.
Following a policy programme agreed between the SNP and the Greens last week, the Scottish Government announced its intention to introduce a Bill in the next year to remove current legal safeguards.
The power-sharing deal will see two Green ministers installed in return for support for government policies.
Under the current law, adults can change legal sex if they have the agreement of two doctors, have lived as if they were the opposite sex for at least two years and make a statutory declaration of their intention to do so for the rest of their life.
The Bill is expected to remove the need for any medical evidence, reduce the two-year period to three months and extend sex swaps to 16-year-olds.
But Marion Calder, co-director of the campaign group For Women Scotland, called the SNP’s move “a farce – and it will try to rush this through as fast as it can. The general public have an understanding there’s only two sexes and they will be confused and astonished.”
Calder and policy analysis group Murray Blackburn Mackenzie both highlighted that the Scottish Government has not yet published the responses to its consultation on changing the Gender Recognition Act which ended in March 2020.
Raising concerns on the effect on women’s single-sex spaces, Calder said that a Bill could bring more attention to “the dangerous ideology that humans can change sex by simply saying they have”.
A Scottish Government spokesman claimed that any changes to the law would “be undertaken in a way that ensures women’s rights are preserved and protected”.
Last year, the Westminster Government officially dropped its plans to allow people in England and Wales to change legal sex by self-declaration.
Following widespread opposition, Equalities Minister Liz Truss announced that it would only reduce the £140 fee needed to receive a gender recognition certificate to a nominal amount and move the application process online.
She confirmed that the rights for service providers to protect single-sex spaces would remain in place.