Catholic Church opposes ‘troubling’ reforms to gender recognition laws

'Little evidence' that trans activists 'skewed' Gender Recognition Act results

The Catholic Church has called on its congregation to oppose proposed reforms to gender recognition laws in Scotland, which it called “troubling”.

It also said that trans people must accept the gender they were assigned at birth for the sake of marriage and family life.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon published draft plans to reform gender recognition laws and launched a fresh public consultation in December 2019.

The Catholic Church called the draft plans a “troubling development” and urged its followers to “engage in the consultation”.

“The Catholic Church is steadfast in its conviction that gender cannot be reduced to a mere construct of society that is fluid and changeable,” a spokesperson said.

“The proposed de-medicalisation of gender dysphoria with respect to the legal process of changing gender is a troubling development, especially for younger people under the age of 18.”

The spokesperson added: “We are to acknowledge and accept to the best of our ability (for some this will be genuinely difficult) our sexual identity and the physical, moral and spiritual differences and complementarities which flow from this.

“These differences and complementarities are oriented towards the good of marriage and to the flourishing of family life.”

The draft bill sets out a new devolved process to replace the UK-wide system of gender recognition – which would end the need to provide medical evidence to a gender recognition panel.

Instead, trans people would be required to make a “a solemn statutory declaration” to Scotland’s Registrar General of their change of gender.

The bill would also reduce the period of time it takes to gain legal recognition from two years to six months, and would lower the minimum age of legal gender recognition from 18 to 16.

The draft bill is dated 2021, indicating that the proposals may not be brought forward for at least a year. The formal consultation on the bill closes in March 2020.

The Church called for a tone of respect around the debate and said: “Whatever the outcome of this consultation the right to disagree with the idea that gender is fluid and changeable must be respected.”

A spokesperson added: “Many people do not believe that gender identity is a matter of choice, or something that may be entirely divorced from the biological sex in which we are born.

“It is imperative that government encourages and society allows for an open, honest and informed debate on this complex and sensitive issue.”

The existing 2004 law and the draft bill both only govern the process for updating the gender of trans people on their birth certificates.

Most other documents already operate on a self-declaratory basis, while discrimination laws apply to all trans people regardless of gender recognition status.