Nicola Sturgeon explains in the simplest of terms what Gender Recognition Act reform actually means

Nicola Sturgeon speaks in parliament

Nicola Sturgeon has explained in simple terms what Gender Recognition Act reform actually means, while vowing to help “one of the most stigmatised minorities in our society”.

Setting out the new Programme for Government (PfG) for 2021-22, Sturgeon renewed her promise to reform the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland in a statement to parliament.

She said: “Presiding officer, I understand that some have sincerely held concerns about this legislation.

“It is therefore worth stressing, I think, what it will do, but also what it will not do.

“It will make the existing process of gender recognition less degrading, intrusive and traumatic.

“In other words, it will make life that bit easier for one of the most stigmatised minorities in our society.”

She said that helping trans folk was “something any parliament should feel a responsibility to do”.

Sturgeon also debunked the notion that helping the trans community will undermine women’s rights, stating: “What it will not do, is remove any of the legal protections that women currently have.”

Hitting out at recent abortion restrictions in the US, which actually do undermine women’s rights, she added: “Presiding officer, we should never forget that the biggest threats to women’s safety come, as has always been the case, from abusive and predatory men, from deep-seated sexism and misogyny, and in some parts of the world, from law makers intent on taking away basic freedoms, and removing the rights of women to control our own bodies.”

Nicola Sturgeon proves protecting trans people and protecting women are not, and have never been, mutually exclusive

At the same time as confirming Gender Recognition Act reform, Nicola Sturgeon also announced measures to tackle violence against women, proving that women’s rights and trans rights are not in conflict.

She said: “I can also confirm that in this parliament, we will invest 100 million pounds to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women, and also support the front line organisations that do so much to help them.

“And we will take account of the recommendations of the working group on misogyny and criminal justice, that is due to report next year.”

It was recently announced that the Scottish Greens and the SNP would be collaborating in government.

Last month, a cooperation agreement was published in which the parties pledged to reform the Gender Recognition Act within the first year of parliament, to “ensure the process by which a trans person can obtain legal recognition is simplified, reducing the trauma associated with that process”.

Despite the cries of anti-trans activists, reforms to the Gender Recognition Act would not actually affect the rights of trans people, or spaces they have access to.

It would only simplify the process by which transgender people can change the gender marker recorded on their birth certificate, a right that trans people already have.