By Laurel Duggan
Daily Caller News Foundation
The U.K. government is blocking a draft law in Scotland that would make it easier for people to legally change their gender on government documents, citing concerns that the bill could undermine legislation protecting women, according to the New York Times.
Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform bill would have removed requirements that transgender-identified people need evidence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, allowing people to legally change their gender by declaring that they’ve lived as the opposite sex for at least three months. The bill has the potential to create confusion throughout the U.K. regarding sex-specific laws, which U.K. politicians have cited to justify using their authority to overrule Scotland’s Parliament for the first time, according to the NYT.
The measure would allow people to legally change their gender at 16 rather than 18 and would replace the typical procedure of providing two medical reports demonstrating gender dysphoria with a simple declaration of gender identity. It carries the threat of two years in prison and an unlimited fine for anyone whose application is found to be “fraudulent.”
Girls’ schools throughout Britain would be forced to allow biological males who identify as transgender under Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform, as would changing rooms, hospital wards, bathrooms, prisons and women’s social clubs, according to Policy Exchange, a U.K.-based think tank; England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be forced to recognize Scottish identification documents. Scotland already had 16 transgender-identified inmates in its prisons as of October, half of whom adopted transgender identities after their convictions, according to the Sunday Times.
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The bill could also run up against the U.K.’s Equality Act, a broad piece of anti-discrimination legislation which includes protections for specific groups, including women, against harassment as well as victimization on the basis of complaining about harassment or discrimination.
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“This is a full-frontal attack on our democratically elected Scottish Parliament and it’s ability to make it’s own decisions on devolved matters,” Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, wrote Monday in response to news that the U.K. would block the legislation.
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