After weeks of faintly disguised dog whistles during the Tory leadership election, Liz Truss is straight out of the gate with her first pointlessly vindictive bit of transphobia. Recently, VICE revealed that two anonymous whistleblowers informed them that Truss was attempting to “pause or prevent” the planned Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
With this reform, a trans person would be able to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) through a self-ID process – a declaration that they intend to live as their acquired gender. This would follow a period of living as their gender for three months, and the GRC would be granted after another three-month “reflection period”.
‘Intrusive, medicalised and bureaucratic’
Under the main pathway of the current system for the whole UK, a trans person has to provide letters from two different doctors or psychologists, including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Along with this, they also need one piece of evidence from roughly every three months of the last two years to show that they have been living as their gender.
This process has been criticised as being unnecessarily convoluted and demeaning. Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government of Scotland, said:
Trans men and women are among the most stigmatised in our society and many find the current system for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate to be intrusive, medicalised and bureaucratic.
This Bill does not introduce any new rights for trans people. It is about simplifying and improving the process for a trans person to gain legal recognition, which has been a right for 18 years.
A GRC affects only a trans person’s ability to update their birth certificate, get married, and die without being misgendered. Scotland’s proposed bill would simply make it easier to obtain the certificate.
The modesty of the proposed reform makes it all the more galling that Truss is attempting to prevent it. One whistleblower told VICE that they were:
concerned that all of Scotland’s great trans equality work will be undone when Liz Truss steps into Number Ten.
Scotland is already steps ahead of the rest of the UK on trans rights. For example, Holyrood’s equal opportunities committee voted to remove the spousal veto on gender recognition back in 2014. This formerly allowed a trans person’s spouse to block their receipt of a GRC. It is deeply disappointing that Truss would seek to hamper further steps to advance trans equality north of the border.
On Twitter, the Scottish Trans Alliance laid out further concerns with the news:
That would seriously undermine the devolution settlement that has been in place for more than 20 years as the settled will of people in Scotland. (6/11)
— Scottish Trans (@ScottishTrans) September 7, 2022
It is certainly true that we are at a volatile time for the union of Scotland and the UK. With a potential re-run of the independence referendum on the horizon, Truss’ heavy-handed meddling in devolved Scottish legislation could go down poorly. This is especially true when the Bill has support from the SNP, Greens, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats – four of Scotland’s five main political parties.
As for Truss’ motivations for this potentially unpopular action, one whistleblower claimed that:
She is furious about what Scotland pushing ahead with this plan could do to women’s rights in the rest of the UK, but she is concerned for Scotland too.
However, it is unclear what these potential ramifications could possibly be. The GRC process is already in place, and the UK already has self-ID for most forms of ID such as passports, driving licences, and even doctor’s records. None of this would change.
Instead, Truss is simply signalling to her transphobic fanbase what her intentions are for her time as PM. She intends to make trans people’s lives that bit harder, to make them feel that bit more unwelcome, even if that involves sticking her oar into Scottish affairs.
Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons/Simon Dawson via Open Government Licence 3.0, resized to 770×403
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?