We understand that dealing with the current outbreak of COVID-19 must be the Scottish Government’s top priority. That is why we support today’s announcement that they will deprioritise any new primary or secondary legislation not intended to deal with this public health crisis until it is over. At least six bills are now currently on hold, and these include the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
Whilst we know that trans people and our allies will be hugely disappointed that this means work on reform of the Gender Recognition Act has been halted for now, the most important thing for all of us at the moment is to look after ourselves and each other. We urge everyone to keep reaching out through these difficult times. Whilst we need to be physically distant, it is important to stay socially connected.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, is responsible for GRA reform. She has said to us in a letter today following the announcement, that:
“The Scottish Government continues to have a strong commitment to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and improve the current process for trans people.”
Once this is all over, we will get back to making the case for why they must honour that commitment, and reform this law.
The Cabinet Secretary goes on to say in her letter that:
“(the Scottish Government) remains committed to improving the lives of trans and non-binary people more generally… You have raised a number of issues around the inequalities trans people continue to experience and I have asked that – once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed – officials work with you to develop proposals that deliver meaningful improvement to the lives of trans people in Scotland.”
We welcome this commitment. Once the coronavirus crisis is over, we look forward to working with the Scottish Government on a range of issues such as access to healthcare, tackling hate crime and trans young people’s experiences at school.
But until then, let’s do everything we can to help each other through this.