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Youth Commission: Gender Recognition

The LGBT Youth Commission on Gender Recognition was established in September 2017 to coincide with the Scottish Government’s consultation to review the Gender Recognition Act (2004). Several of the youth commissioners were present at LGBT Youth Scotland’s offices in November 2017 when Angela Constance, Minister for Communities, Social Security and Equalities officially launched the consultation. Youth commissioners spent time speaking with the minister to explain why gender recognition reform was important to them.

The 14 youth commissioners have worked together to ensure that young people’s voices are heard and represented in the Scottish Government consultation and will continue to engage with the issue as it develops, including working to influence key decision makers to bring about legislative change.

Since forming, the youth commission has;

  • Designed a consultation session for their peers on the proposed change to the Gender Recognition Act (2004), which was facilitated by the commission members in three trans-specific youth groups in Dumfries, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • Had some members speak about their personal experiences at the Equal Future Conference as part of our YOYP (Year of Young People) 2018 events.
  • Undertaken meetings with MSPs to discuss the key areas they’d like to see legislative change for the Gender Recognition Act (2004).

The commission are campaigning towards three key changes to the current gender recognition process:

  • Removal of psychiatric diagnosis for gender recognition and for the process to be through self-declaration. At present, although some transgender people can change the gender on their passports and other identity documents, there is a requirement for a psychiatric diagnosis to confirm an individual’s gender identity in order to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Requiring a professional to validate one’s identity is disempowering and unnecessary.
  • Legal recognition of non-binary identities. In many aspects of the state, people are forced to identity in one of two binary categories (male or female), excluding individuals who identify as having a non-binary gender identity. Unlike other transgender people, non-binary people currently have no legal recognition of their gender and cannot change their documentation to reflect their gender identity. Many countries already recognise that some people do not identify as men or women and provide them with legal documents which respect their non-binary gender identity.
  • Age of gender recognition. Under current legislation, transgender young people must wait until the age of 18 to have their gender legally recognised with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Not only can this waiting period be damaging to young people’s mental health, those without legal gender recognition have limited legal protection from discrimination.  

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