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Gender Recognition Reform Bill passed

Improving the legal recognition system for trans people.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill has been supported by the Scottish Parliament.

The legislation improves the system by which transgender people can apply for legal recognition through a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Trans people aged 16 and older applying for a GRC will be required to make a legally binding declaration that they are already living in their acquired gender and intend to do so permanently.

The Bill includes safeguards against misuse of the system. It will be a criminal offence for applicants to make a false application. A new statutory aggravator and a risk‑based approach in relation to sex offences strengthen these protections.  

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said:

“This is an historic day for equality in Scotland with the Gender Recognition Reform Bill being approved by parliament and by members of all parties.

“It simplifies and improves the process for a trans person to obtain a gender recognition certificate – which many currently find intrusive, medicalised and bureaucratic.

“The legislation makes no change to the reserved Equality Act 2010 and that principle is enshrined in the Bill. As I have made clear, the Scottish Government continues to support the provision of single-sex services and the rights of women.

“The passing of this bill is a significant step forward in creating a more equal Scotland, where trans people feel valued, included and empowered.”


Factsheet and background to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill

Trans people have been able to apply for legal gender recognition through a Gender Recognition Certificate since 2004. Not all trans people have a GRC and no-one is required to have one.

Removing the current requirement under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 for applications to have evidence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria aligns with international best practice and the consensus view of United Nations Human Rights bodies.

Applicants must make a statutory declaration that they have lived in the acquired gender for at least three months before applying (six months for 16 and 17 year olds).

Making a false application will carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for up to two years or an unlimited fine or both. There is also provision in the Bill for a person with interest such as the Registrar General to make an application to the sheriff on the grounds an application was fraudulent.

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