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Gender Recognition Bill Consultation Guide

Defend the rights of women, children and minorities, including people who are attracted to the same sex, by rejecting the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

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Stop the Gender Free-For-All

 

Foreword

This document is a simple guide to the Scottish government’s proposed new law which aims to change the way in which people in Scotland can legally change their sex. We believe the Bill is dangerous both to people who want to change their sex and to the rest of society.

We believe there are better ways to offer support and assistance to people who want to change their sex and extend their rights. This Bill isn’t the way to do that. It is vague, contradictory, and full of ideas that are too controversial and strange to enter Scotland’s legal framework.

Only by rejecting this Bill can we then go on as a country to discuss the issues behind it properly and respectfully. Together that will allow us to discover a better way to meet all our people’s needs.

The Bill is currently out for consultation. The government wants to hear from you what you think. If you want to have YOUR views considered you have to get your response in by March 17th 2020.

Why not get it done right now?

If you already know what you think about the proposed law it won’t take more than 5 minutes to fill in. The government is only asking five questions. Most are simple Yes or No questions. If you wish to make comments, you can make them one or two sentences long. There’s no need to fill the space!

Even if you have strong feelings, please don’t be rude. Harsh comments may lead to your submission being rejected. We believe in respectful, polite debate. We have no argument with transsexuals or trans people. Many support our argument and oppose this badly constructed and risky Bill.

To open the consultation on the official Scottish government site click here:

 

Click here to open the consultation form in a new tab.

You can then jump back and forth between this guide and the consultation form as you fill it in.

 

Under each question, the government asks for comments. For ease and speed, we have supplied some of the thoughts from which you can form your own comments if you choose. These should be in your own words. Please don’t just copy and paste our comments in.

If you want to go straight to the questions and our suggested answers roll down to Questions and Answers .. below. In the meantime, here’s what we hope is some helpful information.

Useful Background Information

Current Provisions

At the moment, if someone wants to change their legal sex they must have a diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’, a recognised medical condition in which a person feels great discomfort about their biological sex. They then have a two- year process which includes an assessment that involves both a doctor and a psychiatric evaluation. All this helps the individual concerned, allowing them time to change their mind, as well as offering protection to the public from people who might exploit the system. People often change their minds. People who apply can currently be turned down if it’s thought they are gaming the rules.

Proposed Change

The Scottish government is now proposing to sweep away this entire system that has worked for two decades. Instead, there will be no need for medical diagnosis, no assessment by specialists and no proper time for anyone to change their mind. The system will essentially become automatic. If someone wants to change their legal sex they will merely have to sign a declaration that they have lived in their chosen new sex for three months. What that means in practice has not been defined. After a brief cooling-off period (of a further three months), which involves no face-to-face interviews or even questions, they will be given a Gender Recognition Certificate. This certificate, in turn, allows them to apply for a birth certificate that will state in the case of a man that he was born female and vice versa.

Access Risks

We hope you’ll agree that all this is worryingly vague and open to abuse. Without monitoring, what is to stop any man saying he is a woman? He could then gain access to women’s spaces like changing rooms, and women’s only events. Women’s sport could be destroyed.

If all this seems risky enough, the dangers are made worse by a trend in society that has exploded recently. It used to be overwhelmingly only ‘transsexuals’ who applied for Gender Recognition Certificates. Transsexuals usually took hormones and went through complex and lengthy surgery to try to become as similar to their chosen sex as possible. Male transsexuals, for example, would often have their penis surgically removed and grow breasts.

Change in approach and trends

However, over the last decade, a new and troubling approach has gained ground. Increasingly, people who want to change their sex argue it doesn’t matter what a person looks or behaves like. It only matters what’s in their head. You can look and act like the most masculine man in Scotland but if you have an inner ‘gender identity’ in your mind that tells you that you are female then you must be allowed to call yourself a woman, and gain legal recognition as one. We believe there is little or no evidence ‘gender identity’ actually exists and even if it does…no one has managed to define or properly explain it. Yet this strange idea has now been put at the heart of the Scottish government’s proposed new law.

Guidance on the proposed law

In its guidance to the proposed law, it says ‘people are the best judge of what is in their minds’. It is so convinced that ‘gender identity’ is real it says it is safe to allow anyone to self-declare their gender. Under the new rules, anyone can say they believe they are really different sex and gain legal proof that they are; no matter how they behave or what they look like. This means potentially thousands of men who look just like other men will gain Gender Recognition Certificates. This will create complete confusion and allow any man who might want to harm women or girls to gain access to women’s spaces. How would you know which men have Gender Recognition Certificates and which don’t? Legally you’re not allowed to ask to see one. The Scottish government has refused to explain in practice how this chaos is to be prevented. It simply claims that men will not exploit this situation to get access to girls or women. This is surely willfully naïve.

Danger to Children

This Bill is also a danger to children. There has been an almost 4000% rise in the number of girls being referred to gender identity clinics across Britain in less than a decade. Many parents are deeply worried about the soaring numbers of kids who say they have ‘gender dysphoria’. We know from the stories of the many young people who later change their minds and regret their transition that much of this is driven by peer pressure, social media and fashion. Meanwhile, growing numbers of children are being fast-tracked towards lifelong medicalisation, including hormones to change their body, infertility, and potential surgery. By lowering the age at which a child can gain a Gender Recognition Certificate from 18 to 16 and enshrining the vague notion of ‘gender identity’ in law the Scottish government will be pouring fuel on this fire.

LGBT Rights at risk

]The Bill is being sold to the public as part of LGBT rights. But it is actually deeply homophobic and is not supported by a large section of the lesbian and gay community. The ill-defined concept of ‘gender identity’ is being used to replace ­– and being confused with – the simple, clear reality of biological sex. This will undermine the rights of lesbians and gays whose rights are protected in the Equality Act (2010) where they are defined as people who are ‘same sex’ attracted. Get rid of ‘sex’ in the law and you get rid of lesbian and gay rights.

We have outlined only some of the biggest problems with this proposed law. We hope we’ve convinced you there are enough serious issues to require it to be scrapped. Remember: there is no pressing need for this law and certainly no need great enough to run such huge risks.

The government says we have no option but to accept this law because we should, they say, follow ‘international best practice’. They point to the fact that Belgium, Malta and Argentina have passed similar laws. But when did we let the Argentinians, the Maltese or anyone else decide our laws for us? We must decide for ourselves what is good for Scotland and Scots.

Question 1

Do you have any comments on the proposal that applicants must live in their acquired gender for at least 3 months before applying for a GRC?

Answer

This question is optional. You can jump to question 3 if you wish. However we suggest you say YES

Here are some comments we suggest you make. Remember please make them in your own words.

  • The government hasn’t defined what ‘live in their acquired gender means’. What does it even mean to ‘acquire a gender’? We reject the idea that people are born in the wrong body. We believe biological sex is unchangeable
  • Anyway, the government’s new process doesn’t have anyone check on whether an applicant is actually living in their acquired gender (whatever that means). That makes it meaningless.
  • Reducing the length of time to get a GRC from 2 years to just 3 months reduces the time for an applicant to change their mind. Many people do change their mind. That makes this Bill bad for trans people.
  • Removing all medical observation and the requirement for a medical diagnosis means many applicants will no longer receive any expert advice or psychiatric counselling at a time of huge personal change. That makes this Bill bad for trans people.
  • The 3-month waiting time is an acknowledgement there must be some risk. Otherwise, there would be no waiting time at all. If there IS a risk, then the waiting time should be much longer, as it is at present and it should be monitored as it is now.
  • Self-declaration of sex is too new and controversial an idea to be enshrined in the law of the land.
  • Gender identity is too controversial and new an idea to be fast-tracked into the statute book.
  • Withdraw the Bill. It is too risky both for society and for applicants.

Question 2

Do you have any comments on the proposal that applicants must go through a period of reflection for at least 3 months before obtaining a GRC?

Answer:

This question is also optional. You can jump to question 3 if you wish.

We suggest you say YES. Here are some points we suggest you might want to make. Remember please make them in your own words.

  • The government has replaced a two-year process in which expert doctors and psychiatrists could monitor the progress of a person with a mere “3 months living in their acquired gender” plus this 3-month period of reflection. It’s neither safe for society nor the person who wants to change their sex because there is no expert input.
  • The 3-month reflection time is an acknowledgement that people might change their mind. Otherwise there would be no reflection time. So the government should leave the process at 2 years as it is currently. And since clearly they accept that someone might change their mind the government needs to leave the process as it is with medical or psychiatric input.
  • If people are going to change their mind then the medical diagnosis of dysphoria should be left as it is in the current Act.
  • Withdraw this Bill. It is too risky both for society and for applicants.

Question 3

Should the minimum age at which a person can apply for legal gender recognition be reduced from 18 to 16?

Answer:

No

Here are some points you may wish to make in the comments section

  • There are already soaring numbers of children claiming to have been born in the wrong body. This Bill will pour fuel on this fire.
  • There’s been an almost 4000% increase in Britain in less than a decade of girls being referred to gender identity clinics, where they are often set on a path of life-long medical treatment. That treatment is so new it is highly experimental. But we know it can end in sterility or infertility. All this is a direct result of the promotion of the meaningless concept of ‘gender identity’. Inserting this dangerous concept into Scotland’s law book now will make things even worse by giving it legitimacy.
  • In schools today, tomboy girls and gentle or effeminate boys are increasingly being told they are the wrong gender. This is a disaster for the vast majority, whose only fault is that they don’t fit social stereotypes.
  • By lowering the age at which a kid can get a Gender Recognition Certificate the government is encouraging kids to believe they are in the wrong body. Kids will want to ‘get ready’ when they are 14 and 15 for their 16th birthday when they want to be physically ready for the ‘big day’ when they can apply for their certificate. They will want to start hormones earlier, or if girls perhaps start wearing chest binders to make themselves look more like boys.
  • All the evidence shows that the vast majority of children who suffer from gender dysphoria grow out of it after puberty. This Bill will prevent them doing that by promoting the meaningless concept of gender identity.
  • The government should instead be encouraging children to be healthy and happy in their own bodies, not making the current epidemic worse.
  • Withdraw this Bill.
  • It is a danger to Scotland’s children.

Question 4

Do you have any other comments on the provisions of the draft bill?

Answer:

Yes

Here are some points you may wish to make in the comments section

  • If enacted, this bill will allow any man who says he believes he is a woman to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate and with that also a birth certificate that states he was born female. Within a few years, there could be thousands of men in Scotland who would never have got a GRC before who will now be able to claim they are legally women. This will undermine women’s sport. It will also place in danger women and girls in changing rooms and hospitals wards…because it will become impossible to stop ANY man wandering into women’s spaces whenever they feel like it.
  • The Bill will further encourage children to believe they may have been born in the wrong body…leading many to a lifetime of medical intervention. The epidemic of girls taking powerful hormones to turn themselves into boys will be made even worse. No government should encourage children to believe they are born in the wrong body.
  • The Bill also undermines the whole basis of lesbian and gay identity by denying the fundamental reality of biological sex. It is a deeply homophobic piece of legislation.
  • The Bill should be withdrawn. There is no need for it. Transsexuals currently have the same rights as everyone else. Many transsexuals and other trans people agree this law will be damaging to their rights.
  • The only people who should be able to change their sex on their birth certificate are those who have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and who go through a sincere and lengthy process which is monitored professionally by doctors.
  • This Bill would change the meaning of two words that human beings have understood for thousands of years: ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Biological sex is perhaps the most fundamental factual reality about human beings. All this should not be torn up or ignored in favour of vague ‘inner feelings’ that can’t be defined and science does not understand.

Question 5

Do you have any comments on the draft impact assessments?

Answer:

Yes

Here are some points you may wish to make in the comments section

  • Many experts have pointed out the government’s Impact Assessments are deeply flawed.  They do not follow the Scottish Government’s own standards for assessing the possible consequences of new laws. They claim incorrectly that this Bill will have no negative impact on women. But the Bill will actually have profoundly bad consequences for women.
  • The assessments take absolutely no account of the impact on children of encouraging belief in ‘gender identity’. This is a serious omission.
  • The assessments do not take any account of the growing number of people who change sex and then regret it and try to de-transition. Hundreds of people across the UK are now trying to piece their lives and their bodies together after regretting their decision to ‘change their sex’. Failure even to mention this is a serious omission.
  • The assessments fail to analyse critically the risks of people, especially men, gaming the system.
  • The government claims that a statutory declaration and a vow will prevent any malign person exploiting its new process. But if vows and promises worked there would be no one in jail. Criminals or those with malign intent will not be put off by statutory declarations.
  • The government’s assessments are naive and wildly over-optimistic.
  • This Bill would change the meaning of two words that human beings have understood for thousands of years: ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Biological sex is perhaps the most fundamental factual reality about human beings. All this should not be torn up or ignored in favour of vague ‘inner feelings’ that can’t be defined and science does not understand.
  • Withdraw the Bill in its entirety

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