Category: supporters

Equal Recognition statement by Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre

Forth Valley Rape Crisis CentreOn International Human Rights Day Forth Valley Rape Crisis would like to express our full support of all of the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act and encourage all those committed to the advancement of human rights to respond to the on-going Equal Recognition consultation.

As a movement, Rape Crisis have always fought against the rigid gender stereotyping that each of us experience, which is rooted in patriarchal notions of gender as binary. Alternatively, we advocate that everyone should be able to express themselves in the way in which feels reflective of their individual identity and not that which is ascribed to us by society.

As a feminist organisation working to eradicate sexual violence it is essential to oppose the abuse of power over people of marginalised gender identity at both an individual and institutional level. The current process of legally changing gender targets trans people and their right to autonomy over their own lives, identity and bodies. It makes medical diagnosis a necessary requirement and in doing so affords power to state institutions and professionals within the private and personal lives of trans people.

By requiring a psychiatric report which states they have been diagnosed as having gender dysphoria, the state is pathologising trans people and violates their right to privacy and self-determination. There is still significant stigma of trans identities within our society and, as a result, there are many barriers trans people face in being open about their identities. This process forces people to give up their relative rights in order to gain legal recognition of their identity, a process which makes you consider the reality for those who do not gain this through the current system.

The current process of legally changing gender requires trans people to be ‘living’ in their ‘acquired gender’ for a period of two years prior and to provide evidence of this. The two year period that requires trans people to live in their acquired gender while legally recognising them otherwise invites situations where they are forced to be out and as a result, exposed to an increased risk of sexual violence often in the form of ‘hate crime’. Hate crime perpetrated against trans people consistently takes the form of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Forth Valley Rape Crisis are hopeful the legislation will be reformed and believe that the rights and safety of trans people will be greatly improved and as a result.

Statement of Support by National Gender Equality Organisations

logos of Close the Gap, Engender, Equate Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Women 50:50 and Zero ToleranceAs national gender equality organisations, Close the Gap, Engender, Equate Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Women 50:50 and Zero Tolerance, support the realisation of rights of trans people.

For over a decade, we have engaged in constructive dialogue with our colleagues in the Scottish Trans Alliance, Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland and Stonewall Scotland. We have shared knowledge, explored complex practicalities and developed sensible policy positions on trans inclusion. We do not regard trans equality and women’s equality to be in competition or contradiction with each other. We listen carefully to each other’s ideas and concerns and collaboratively create solutions, including the maintenance of women only spaces and services.  Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid in Scotland provide trans inclusive services on the basis of self identification.

We support the Equal Recognition campaign and welcome the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. The complexity, restrictions and expense of the current gender recognition process particularly discriminates against trans people who are disabled, migrant, minority ethnic, unemployed, homeless, fleeing domestic abuse, young or non-binary. Enabling trans people to smoothly change their birth certificates at the same time as they change their other identity documents is a much needed positive step forward for society.

We will continue to work collaboratively with Scottish Trans Alliance and other equality organisations with the aim of ensuring that new processes are appropriately designed and without unintended consequences. Areas for discussion as the reforms proceed are the collection and use of gender disaggregated data and the approach to sex offenders within the prison estate.

View on Engender’s website.