‘History made’ after hundreds of trans people protest Section 35
Hundreds took part in last-minute protests across the UK today against the UK Government’s move to block Scotland’s gender recognition reforms.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday his government would use a decades-old law called Section 35 to veto the Gender Recognition Reform Act (Scotland).
The proposals would have simplified the process by which a trans person can legally change their gender.
Amid ‘f**k the Tories’ chants and homemade ‘Trans Power’ signs, the Rally for Trans Equality took place in Glasgow this morning.
LGBTQ+ people and their allies joined Buchanan Street from the steps of the Royal Concert Hall from 11am, even joining the legislature.
Scottish Green Party minister and co-leader Patrick Harvie was among the speakers at the rally alongside marching SNP MPs Kaukab Stewart and Kirsten Oswald.
The organizers of the rally told Metro.co.uk they estimate hundreds if not over a thousand people have joined hands for the demonstration in Glasgow.
Scotland’s bill would have lowered the age – from 18 to 16 – at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to legally change their gender.
The intrusive, lengthy, and costly need to obtain a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria would also have been eliminated.
According to the proposals, applicants over 18 would be recognized as their ‘acquired’ sex after three months instead of two years; 16 and 17 year olds would have to wait six months.
Beth Douglas, a trans woman and co-leader of the LGBTQ+ wing of the Scottish Greens, the Rainbow Greens, was among the protesters in Glasgow.
She told Metro.co.uk: “We really see history being made. The Glasgow protest was electrifying with hundreds if not thousands in attendance.
“More demonstrations are taking place across the country and more people are taking a stand against this government’s attacks on trans people and democracy.”
Elaine Scattermoon, 35, a trans software developer, added: “For me, the most important thing was to show the solidarity and the level of support this has, as well as the strength of the feelings.
“There were hundreds of us making our presence felt and our voices felt and this was just part of Glasgow on a freezing January morning.
“Trans people cannot and will not be silenced, and we refuse to be used as a pawn in political culture wars.”
Joelle Tungus, 25, a bus cleaner who moved to Scotland three years ago, had an inkling as to why turnout was so high.
“I think people were fed up with it. This (Gender Recognition Act) affects our lives so little and it’s been a six-year struggle,” she said.
“We all breathed a sigh of relief when it finally passed – after a final round of Tory obstructionism – and then Section 35 came in.
“We messed around so much that being so close to finally finalizing the bill and pulling it out at the last moment was just the final step over the line.
“I just want to be done with GRA reform and move on to issues that actually harm trans people.”
Protesters also made their voices heard in London at the gates of Downing Street, as well as in Leeds in West Yorkshire and Dundee on the east coast of Scotland.
British ministers have argued they must intervene as Scotland’s proposals would turn the UK into a patchwork of gender recognition programmes.
Alister Jack, the UK Government’s Foreign Secretary for Scotland, has insisted that he “did not take this decision lightly” to invoke Section 35.
“Having thoroughly and carefully considered all the advice on this and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have a negative impact on the application of UK equality legislation,” he said on Monday.
It seems that not many trans people in the UK have ever applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) – a document that allows them to change the gender on their birth certificate.
In Scotland, Holyrood estimates that only about 30 transsexuals apply each year. In the UK, the number is in the hundreds, according to the UK government.
Trans people can already change their gender markings on other document types like passports and driver’s licenses without GRC.
Scotland’s gender recognition reforms have been less about giving trans people new rights and more about making existing rights easier to access, campaigners say.
Until that day comes, Tungus says she is pleased with what the turnout for today’s Glasgow protest has shown the UK
“People have always treated me so nicely in Glasgow since I came out as trans,” she says.
“I’m just glad everyone else gets to see the pro-trans Glasgow that I see every day.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/21/history-made-after-hundreds-of-trans-people-protest-against-section-35-18143182/ 'History made' after hundreds of trans people protest Section 35