Wales should have gender self-ID law like Scotland, says first minister Mark Drakeford

A photo shows first minister of Wales Mark Drakeford wearing a grey suit jacket, white shirt, red tie and glasses as he smiles at the camera

Wales’ first minister Mark Drakeford has said he supports Scotland’s gender self-identifying system and would welcome a similar system in Wales.

Drakeford has come out in favour of Scotland’s approving a change to make it easier for people in the country to change their legal gender and live authentically.

Whilst Wales does not currently have the same powers as Scotland to bring a change like this, Drakeford has said he would seek them from the UK government.

Just last month the Scottish Parliament added new rules which lowered the age that people could apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) form 18 to 16. The new rule would also remove the need for people to achieve a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

As it stands, Scotland is the only UK nation to simplify the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate.

Speaking in Cardiff at the Senedd on Tuesday (10 January) Drakeford stated that people who obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate in Scotland and then come to Wales would have the document “recognised here”.

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His comments come after the UK government announced plans to reconsider its acknowledgement of GRCs from countries with different process than exist there.

He said: “We will seek the powers and, if we obtain those powers, we will put those powers to work here in Wales, and we will put proposals in front of this Welsh Parliament.

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What is a gender recognition certificate?

In the UK, a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) is a document that legally affirms someone’s gender.

A person’s gender is initially registered at birth, so GRCs allow trans people to be recognised by how they identify if that does not match the gender assigned at birth.

Once you have a Gender Recognition Certificate, in the eyes of the law, you are considered to be the gender stated on the certificate from the date of issue.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon watches on during the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill proceedings
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has spoken out in support of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill. (Getty)

The UK government has said that it has “concerns” about the new Scottish legislation and it could seek to prevent it becoming law in the future by blocking royal assent.

Speaking to the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Wales noted that all political parties in Scotland supported the new changes to the law.

When questioned by Conservative MS Laura Anne Jones who noted concerns about the Scottish legislation, stating it was “rushed through”, Mr Drakeford refused to rule out similar legislation in Wales and did not accept that the changes had been passed too quickly.

He added: “They are threatening to use a power that has never been used in the whole history of devolution” and was “surprised” by the UK government’s reaction to the Scottish law.

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