A FRESH row has broken out over plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act as new analysis accuses governments of planning changes “under the radar”.

The Scottish Government has paused plans to make it easier for people to legally change their gender amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The move was announced to dismay amongst trans rights campaigners along with delays to a raft of planned legislative measures.

However, the SNP administration says it is still “committed” to updating the law and allow trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate without “unnecessary stress”, something that has been backed by organisations including Engender and LBGT Youth Scotland, which say it will cause no harm, despite opposition from new groups like For Women Scotland, which claims the change will disadvantage women and girls.

The National:

Ministers have said they want to follow “international best practice” on the matter after a number of other countries undertook their own reform programmes.

Last night they denied trying to avoid public scrutiny following the publication of new analysis published in the Edinburgh Law Review.

The paper, by policy collective MurrayBlackburnMackenzie, claims gender recognition reform in a number of European jurisdictions has happened with “under the radar”, with “little to no consideration as to how gender self-identification principles impact on other rights-holders”.

Dr Kath Murray said: “The pace and breadth of the uptake of these laws may be attributable to a process of policy capture, whereby policymaking is skewed in favour of one particular interest group at the expense of others.

The National:

“There are lessons here for the UK and Scottish Governments as they consider reforms to the GRA. Both should seek to secure broad-based support for any reforms, and consider potential effects on other rights-holders, not least women.”

Highlighting its two consultations, the Scottish Government said: “We completely reject this accusation.

“The proposed Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill is currently on hold, as a consequence of the current pandemic – precisely in order that this important issue can be given the scrutiny it deserves.”