What’s the problem?
Young people under 18 years old are currently prevented from accessing legal gender recognition.
Increasing numbers of young people are transitioning, with the full support of their parents, to live as the gender they identify as. Although they can satisfy all of the other conditions required to change the gender on their birth certificate, young people are denied this human right purely because of their age. This places them at risk of significant discrimination and violations of their privacy in education and employment due to the sex on their birth certificate not reflecting the gender they live as.
“I’m currently 17 and am going away to college next year. I would much prefer to have myself as male on the official records, but they need to have my ‘real’ details on the system.”
Young trans person
What are we asking for?
New legislation should enable people to apply for gender recognition from 16, the age at which young people in Scotland are deemed to have full legal capacity. Children under 16 should also be able to access gender recognition with the additional requirement that their parents or legal guardians provide their consent. Young people who transition already need a great deal of support from their parents or legal guardians who have to make decisions based on what is best for their child, this would be another such decision.
What’s international best practice?
In Malta, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Argentina, there is no lower age limit for applying for legal gender recognition. In Norway the lower age limit is 6 years old.
In Ireland, the Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill to allow young people under 16 to change their legal gender is currently progressing through the Irish Seanad and passed the second stage with full support of the house on 10 May 2017.