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There is a great deal of confusion around the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Lucy Hunter Blackburn’s excellent letter to the Times clarifies how GRCs issued abroad are treated in the UK, and how this will change in Scotland if the Bill is given Royal Assent.


Stonewall’s latest statement on this matter is at odds with their previous consultation responses and misrepresents the facts. This is a problem because they have initiated a letter writing campaign to MPs and many of the recipients still hold Stonewall in high regard.


Please use the form below to email your MP with the correct information.

Send this Email To Your MP

Dear [Your MP's Name],

I fully support the recent intervention by the government at Westminster in the passage of the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill, particularly in light of Lady Haldane’s ruling that sex in law refers to legal sex for all purposes.


However, I write today about the confusion surrounding the impact of this bill on holders of Gender Recognition Certificates (GRCs) issued overseas. 


Right now, there is no automatic recognition in the UK of any GRC issued elsewhere. A UK GRC is always required to obtain such recognition under UK law. However, if a person comes from one of a list of “approved” jurisdictions, they need not show that they meet all of the tests usually applied here and have access instead to a fast-track application process. This has been used by only 216 people since 2009.


The bill passed by Scotland seeks to change that and would recognise a GRC (in Scotland) issued overseas “by a competent foreign country or authority”.


Stonewall Scotland understands the current situation perfectly as they confirm in their Scottish Government consultation response, paragraph 76. 


Furthermore, paragraphs 77 and 78 explicitly welcome the change the new Bill would usher in:

“We welcome that the insertion of section 8N would enable those who have obtained overseas gender recognition to be regarded as the ‘acquired gender’ in Scotland, without having to re-apply”. 


The statement on the Stonewall website is baffling in the light of this. Its claims about losing “reciprocal recognition” are entirely at odds with the above.  


If the UK Government at Westminster chooses to block this new Holyrood Bill or to remove countries from the list of approved jurisdictions for fast-track GRCs, no individual in this country who has a GRC will be impacted, nor will any new travel constraints will be imposed on people having a GRC. 


Furthermore, despite claims that Scotland will be taken off the list of approved jurisdictions, Scotland is not on the list, nor will it ever be, because Scotland is part of the UK. The question is not whether holders of a Scottish GRC should be fast tracked for a UK GRC, but whether a Scottish GRC will be recognised in the rest of the UK. 


A public statement on the impact of the GRR is urgently needed from the Minister for Women and Equalities to prevent this misinformation spreading further.


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