Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland will lead on transgender rights

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that transgender rights reforms are the “next step” on the country journey.

Scotland recently consulted on proposals to streamline the process for transgender people to change their legal gender, which is currently governed by the UK-wide Gender Recognition Act.

The Scottish First Minister spoke to PinkNews after last week’s summer reception in Edinburgh, which was attended by cross-party politicians and LGBT campaigners from across across Scotland.

Speaking ahead of the PinkNews summer reception in Belfast, she vowed to push ahead with plans to “make Scotland fairer” for trans people despite increasing hostility to reforms in the media.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Sturgeon told PinkNews: “Scotland has come a long way in the last ten years in defending and promoting LGBTI rights.

“Scotland was the first country in the UK to consult on same sex marriage, and we have also reformed adoption law to permit same sex couples to adopt jointly. The next step on this journey is to ensure that we are doing more to make Scotland fairer for transgender people.

“This is why we have recently consulted on plans to reform the UK-wide 2004 Gender Recognition Act.”

The First Minister also spoke about plans for sex and relationship education, after Wales was the first part of the UK to announce statutory LGBT-inclusive relationships and sexuality education will be standard in all schools.

Sturgeon told PinkNews: “It is unacceptable for anybody in this day and age to face discrimination because of their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

We are determined to go further to promote inclusive attitudes, and that is one of the reasons why we are working with the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group to promote an inclusive approach to sex and relationships education.

“While Scotland does not have a statutory curriculum, the guidance on relationships, sexual health and parenthood education emphasises how important it is that diversity and issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people or children with LGBTI parents, be included.”

She added: “The Scottish Government will take firm action against discrimination and homophobia wherever and whenever it happens. We need to do more to ensure that people from all walks of life are better represented in politics, our institutions and across civic and wider society.”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 19: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the assembled crowd at Glasgow Pride on August 19, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. The largest festival of LGBTI celebration in Scotland is held every year in Glasgow since 1996. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)

Nicola Sturgeon speaks at Pride (Getty)

The Scottish Parliament recently passed a law that will see the country follow England, Wales and Northern Ireland in allowing men who were convicted under historical anti-gay laws in the country to receive a formal pardon.

Although one critical SNP MSP, John Mason, compared it to apologising for the Roman occupation, Sturgeon said the move was important for “righting the wrongs of the past”.

She said: “The recent passing of legislation to pardon men convicted of same-sex sexual activity when that was unjustly illegal – along with moves to provide a means to allow people to apply to have those convictions ‘disregarded’ so they will never appear on disclosure checks – was a very important moment in righting the wrongs of the past.

“It ensures that society recognises that it was entirely unacceptable that people were imprisoned, victimised and discriminated against purely because of who they loved.”