LGBTQ+ people react in horror to UK government’s ‘disgraceful’ blocking of Scottish gender bill

Westminster, Big Ben and a mobile phone

LGBTQ+ people in the UK have reacted in dismay and horror to the UK government’s ‘full-frontal attack’ in blocking the Scottish gender bill, which would reform the archaic gender recognition process.

The move, by Rishi Sunak’s government, which has halted the Scottish parliament’s approval of a bill that would speed up the process for someone legally changing their gender, has sparked anger and outrage.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack confirmed Monday (16 January) that he will use a Section 35 order under the Scotland Act to prevent the Scottish bill from becoming law because he is “concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation”.

The Gender Recognition Act was signed into law in 2004, with recent years highlighting the system being too difficult for people to access and navigate. Scotland’s new bill would reform the law, significantly improving the process and reducing massive wait times. The legislation would also lower the age someone could apply to 16.

LGBTQ+ people have expressed their anger and upset towards the Conservative government, and shown solidarity to others who will now have to endure the lengthy intrusive process to change their gender.

Some used social media to explain simply and clearly why an attack on gender recognition certificates was a pointless exercise.

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Hannah Graf said on Lorraine this morning: “It’s about removing the difficult parts of that process. It’s not about how we change our passports and driving licenses.

“There’s a lot of fear-mongering around. If we step back we can see there is nothing to worry about. For some reason, trans conversations are happening without trans people involved. Transgender rights across the board, in the UK and abroad, are under attack.”

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Many people in the community shared their solidarity with trans people across the country. One person wrote on Twitter: “Solidarity with my trans brothers and sisters today. Can’t imagine what it must feel like to live under a government hellbent on making your life so miserable, they’re willing to break up the UK to do it.”

Another person wrote on Twitter: “It’s funny* how trans people aren’t a danger to women, yet the government want you to think we are, and at the same time, the police clearly are a danger to women, and they want to give them more power.”

Since the Section 35 order was initiated by the UK government, people are travelling to London to protest the archaic move by the Tories.

“Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are valid. Trans rights are human rights. Please for the everloving f**k get rid of the Tories,” a frustrated person wrote.

People have urged politicians in other devolved nations to “speak up” about the abhorrent move from Westminister. Recently, the leader of the Welsh government, Mark Drakeford, said he would welcome a similar bill to make it easier for someone to legally change their gender.

Hannah Blythyn, member of the Senedd for Delyn, said the move was an “outrageous” and “disgraceful” attack.

“An outrageous and disgraceful attack on devolution, democracy and LGBTQ+ rights,” she said.

Trans rights are human rights. We must stand together with and within the LGBTQ+ community.”

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Nicola Sturgeon said that blocking the bill was an “attack” on trans people all over the country. She said: “This is a full-frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish parliament and its ability to make its own decisions on devolved matters.”

Scott Cuthbertson, manager of the Scottish Equality Network, said he could “never forgive” the UK government’s decision to block the bill.

He said: “Eight years I’ve been working on this (with amazing colleagues). Eight years to help support a tiny group of marginalised people, to be able to change a bit of paperwork with some dignity.

“Regardless of the outcome, I don’t think I can ever forgive the UK government.”

The hashtag #TransRightsAreHumanRights is trending on Twitter with thousands of comments pouring in support of the trans and non-binary communities.

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