Caitlin Logan, a reporter for CommonSpace, has written a great article challenging the misinformation being spread by other parts of the media about gender recognition reform.
National charities LGBT Youth Scotland and Scottish Trans Alliance, along with the national youth commission on gender recognition, say that the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act could be vital for young people, but that misconceptions are impairing the debate.
Speaking to CommonSpace, Policy and Research Manager at LGBT Youth Scotland Brandi Lee Lough Dennell said she had concerns that “malicious misinformation” which was apparent in some media coverage or online discussion of the issue could have a negative impact on trans young people.
“When young people see negative depictions seemingly picked up by family, employers, MSPs, whoever, even if it’s one person shouting loudly and it’s not challenged, this has an impact,” she said.
LGBT Youth Scotland has been gathering the views of young people through the LGBT Youth Commission on Gender Recognition, which was established last year as a national youth participation project, and through consultation across its youth groups and online.
One member of the youth commission, Cameron Goymer, highlighted that the reforms to the Gender Recognition Act would not change the current provision of medical transitions for under 18s: “In both Scotland and the UK, the only medical intervention a young person under the age of 16 is hormone blockers. At the age of 16 someone can go onto hormone replacement therapy and at 18 undergo any surgery.”
Lough Dennell also emphasised that this was an area around which misunderstanding had developed, and noted that the Gender Recognition Act “has nothing to do with surgery” and that the age at which any medical intervention is available would not change.
“Any changes to the Gender Recognition Act are not going to change how people are already identifying”, she added.
James Morton, Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, elaborated: “A young person’s birth certificate would only be changed after they’d already changed their name, pronouns and gender in daily life and on their school records. Therefore, it would not affect the timing or likelihood of a young person transitioning. It is purely a fully-reversible change to text on a piece of paperwork.”