Majority of women back gender recognition reform in Scotland, yet another poll confirms

Most women in Scotland support reforming gender recognition laws for trans people

The majority of women in Scotland support reforming gender recognition laws to make life easier for trans people, yet another poll about “the transgender issue” has found.

One in four Scottish adults strongly supports making changes to the gender recognition process to make it easier for trans people to get a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which is the document that can then be used to update the gender marker on a birth certificate, according to a poll conducted by ComRes for the BBC.

Only one in 10 strongly oppose the changes.

Overall, 63 per cent of women in Scotland and 49 per cent of men are strongly or somewhat supportive of the proposed changes.

Women are also more supportive than men about specific details of the proposed reforms, including: 46 per cent of women support letting trans people self-identify their legal gender by removing the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, compared with 34 per cent of men; 40 per cent of women support reducing the time trans people must prove they have lived in their acquired gender from two years to six months, compared with 34 per cent of men; and 36 per cent of women support allowing trans 16- and 17-year-olds to access legal gender recognition, compared with 26 per cent of men.

The poll also found that more than half of Scots don’t personally know a trans person, with just 10 per cent having a trans family member or close friend.

And while “the trans debate” has raged in the media and politics, just a third of Scots said they have followed the issue closely, while two-thirds have not.

Describing the polling as “reassuring”, Colin MacFarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland and Northern Ireland, said it “confirms what we hear everyday” – that “most people want to support trans people to live their lives freely and to be who they say they are”.

MacFarlane added that “after two major public consultations, endless media stories about [Gender Recognition Act] reform filled with misinformation, the demonising of trans people and nearly six years since the Scottish Government pledged to make this happen, it is now time for the [Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill] to be introduced to parliament”.

Legal gender recognition is important when it comes to marriage, death and taxes, but few trans people undergo the process due to it being complicated, intrusive, expensive and lengthy.

Scottish ministers hope to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender, after similar reforms in England and Wales were scrapped by the Tory government. The Scottish Parliament has held two major public consultations on reforming the GRA in order to modernise it so that more trans people can access it.

Both the Scottish consultations, and multiple polls, have found that the majority of people in the UK support reforms that will make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender.

However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – the UK’s national human-rights watchdog – recommended last month that reforms be delayed, leading to outrage from LGBT+ activists and calls for the disgraced equalities watchdog to be downgraded.

A Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill is expected to be introduced at Holyrood this month, with reports that the government will publish it in on 24 February.