Nicola Sturgeon: We should help kids make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has underlined the SNP’s commitments to LGBT rights ahead of next month’s elections.

The Scottish National Party released its 2016 manifesto today, ahead of the Scottish elections on May 5.

In it, the party commits to “enabling young people to make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity is about supporting them to be themselves so that they might fulfil their potential.”

It continues: “We recognise that Scotland has come a long way on issues such as LGBTI recognition, but that we have further to go. We expect all new guidance and promoted teachers – and eventually all teachers – to undertake training on equality, so they are confident in tackling prejudice-based bullying.

“We will provide additional funding where required.

“We will work towards every professional working with children being trained on equality, to help address prejudice-based bullying, attachment, child development
and child protection.

“A distinctive part of our equal marriage law was our more progressive approach to Transgender recognition which allows married transgender people to obtain a
full Gender Recognition Certificate, and stay married.

“We must now build on this to help end discrimination. We will review and reform gender recognition law, so it’s in line with international best practice for people who are Transgender or Intersex.

“And we will build on and improve the standalone protocol that’s been developed in Scotland for people seeking gender reassignment, which has provided a clearer and consistent treatment pathway that is equitable, effective, and patient-focussed.”

The Scottish National Party’s conference had voted to back inclusive SRE earlier this year, but a direct pledge on the issue was absent from the commitments.

Nicola Sturgeon: We should help kids make informed choices about their gender and sexual identity

Gender recognition in Scotland is currently governed by the UK-wide 2004 Gender Recognition Act, so the issue may require further devolution.

Westminster’s Women and Equalities Committee recommended a radical shake-up of the legislation earlier this year.

The UK government’s Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said she would “look into” the suggested changes, but is yet to actually make any policy announcements on the issue.

If Scotland pushes forward with its own devolved law beforehand, this may leave the rest of the UK lagging behind due to the hold-up in Westminster. As the anti-LGBT Democratic Unionist Party are dominant in Northern Ireland, it is highly unlikely to follow Ms Sturgeon in pursuing gender recognition reform on a devolved basis.