Children who are confused about their gender could use the radically weaker system proposed for Scotland to change legal sex far earlier than in England, a women’s group has warned.
Under the plans, the waiting period for a Gender Recognition Certificate in Scotland would be cut from two years to six months and 16-year-olds could apply.
Fair Play for Women said the proposal “could impact families across the whole of the UK”.
Parents group Transgender Trend also cautioned: “Parents are worried.
“The government is giving the opportunity on the basis of no medical diagnosis of legally changing birth sex on a birth certificate at a time in life when they are extremely vulnerable and extremely influenced by the peer group they find themselves in.”
Fair Play for Women’s Nicola Williams said: “If your teenage son or daughter selects a Scottish university they could apply for a new birth certificate in Freshers’ Week and start the second term as the opposite sex.”
Gretna Green is famous for hosting young couples who ran away from England to marry without parental consent – a disparity in law on transsexualism could prompt a similar trend.
Under the new plans, anyone applying to change legal sex need only have lived as if a member of the opposite sex for three months before they can be approved by the Registrar General for Scotland.
There would then be a three-month “reflection period” after which applicants are given a Gender Recognition Certificate and a new birth certificate.
Applicants will still be required to make a statutory declaration that they intend to live as their new sex permanently.
In December, ahead of the proposals’ release, a poll found fewer than one in three Scottish people supported reducing the minimum age to 16.
Of the 1,009 people surveyed by Panelbase for The Sunday Times, 50 per cent opposed the change while only 32 per cent supported it.