Kemi Badenoch could declare Scottish gender recognition certificates invalid in rest of UK

Kemi Badenoch walks across the streets of Number 10, wearing a black blazer.

Kemi Badenoch is going to great lengths to invalidate Scotland’s gender recognition reform.

The Scottish parliament has passed legislation to make it easier for trans people to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate, used to update gender markers on birth certificates, to marry as the correct gender, and to be recognised as the correct gender in death.

These democratically passed reforms are facing unprecedented opposition from the Westminster government, which has said it could block the bill from receiving royal assent.

As the row continues, Tory equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has announced a review of the list of accepted overseas gender certificates to ensure “the integrity of the Gender Recognition Act”.

“There are now some countries and territories on the list who have made changes to their systems since then and would not now be considered to have equivalently rigorous systems,” Badenoch wrote in a ministerial statement on Monday (9 January).

“It should not be possible for a person who would not satisfy the criteria to obtain UK legal gender recognition to use the overseas recognition route to obtain a UK Gender Recognition Certificate.”

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She added that the equalities department is “finalising details of overseas countries and territories to be removed from the list”.

It was last updated in 2011, with the removal of Montenegro and Latvia.

In a statement from the government equalities office to PinkNews says “no decision has been made on a course of action at this time.”

Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform bill would lower the age limit for acquiring a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) from 18 to 16 and remove the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

According to UK government sources reported by The Sunday Times, officials could remove Scotland from its list of approved countries unless it retains the medical diagnosis requirement.

“We are not discriminating against people from foreign countries with GRCs,” a source told the paper.

“If they arrive in this country with one from a country that has a less rigorous system than the UK, we’re saying you should apply for a UK GRC.”

The GRC process currently requires the individual to be at least 18 years old, have lived as their gender identity for at least two years, and to have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a medical professional.

Under reform, the period in which applicants need to have lived in their acquired gender would be cut to three months, or six months for people aged 16 and 17. There is also a new requirement of a “waiting period” of three months after applying when an individual must reconfirm their wish to receive a GRC. 

Kemi Badenoch has previously expressed her disproval of the Scottish reform, claiming that the Scottish National Party (SNP) had passed its bill “despite strong opposition from even within their own party”.

The bill was passed 86-39. Of SNP MSPs, 54 voted for, nine against. One did not vote.

It has been previously reported that the government is considering blocking the reform bill by stopping its royal assent through a never-before-used mechanic.

Rishi Sunak has said it is “completely reasonable” for the UK to “look at” the bill and “decide on what the appropriate course of action is”.

LGBTQ+ organisation Stonewall said such a move would be a “mistake” that would come across as “spiteful.”

According to recent census data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are reportedly around 262,000 people (0.5 per cent) in England and Wales who say their gender identity is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.