ACTIVISTS from four of Holyrood’s main parties marched on the Scottish Parliament calling for “bolder” reforms to be brought in for transgender people.

Equality campaigners from the Out for Independence, Rainbow Greens, Scottish Labour’s LGBT+ wing and young LibDems walked en masse from Edinburgh’s city chambers to Holyrood demanding “trans rights now”.

Five members of the Scottish Family Party greeted the activists as they arrived outside the parliament’s doors while holding huge placards with anti-trans sentiments. They tried to interrupt speeches on numerous occasions – but were drowned out by the cheering and whooping crowd.

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The Gender Recognition Act (GRA) was laid in the Scottish Parliament on March 2 last year by social justice secretary Shona Robison with a call for an end to the “abusive” rhetoric surrounding the reforms.

The bill is intended to make it easier for a trans person to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to live legally in their acquired gender.

This includes removing the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, allowing the trans person to self-ID, the power to award a GRC given to the Registrar General instead of a medical panel, and allowing the trans person to live in their acquired gender for three months as opposed to two years.

However, there have been concerns raised that the legislation does not provide protection for non-binary people in Scotland, who do not identify as either gender.

Activists from four of Holyrood's political parties marched on the Scottish Parliament on the first day after summer recessActivists making their way to the Scottish Parliament building

Beth Douglas, co-convener of the Rainbow Greens and organiser of the march, said that there were numerous pieces of legislation making their way through the Scottish Parliament such as the GRA, a ban on conversion therapy and reform into trans health care.

She told The National: “We just want to make the case on the day that the Scottish Parliament open back up to the public and on the eve of MSPs coming back tomorrow we wanted to remind them that we’re here.

“We want them to be bolder, we want them to go further. The current GRA reforms aren’t world leading, there are countries that are already doing better than what we’ve proposed and we really want to say to MSPs of all colours that this is a cross-party issue.

Activists from four of Holyrood's political parties marched on the Scottish Parliament on the first day after summer recessMembers of Out for Independence also took part in the march

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“We’ve seen groups from the LibDems, the SNP, Scottish Labour as well as the Scottish Greens come together and say this is the right thing to do, this is what being progressive is and we should be bolder and wholeheartedly commit to trans rights in the next parliament.”

Ellie Gomersall, president of NUS Scotland and the first openly trans woman to hold post, said that trans issues are something “we should all be fighting for”, adding that she had been on the waiting list for healthcare for four years and seven days.

She said: “The current waiting list for trans care is absolutely horrific.

Activists from four of Holyrood's political parties marched on the Scottish Parliament on the first day after summer recessEllie Gommersall, president of NUS Scotland, said waiting times for trans health care are "horrific"

“It’s absolutely crazy, the problem is that as a result of that a lot of trans people are having to resort to private health care just to be able to survive until they see someone through the NHS. It’s not just the waiting lists that are the problem.”

Gomersall added that the Scottish Government had committed funding to bring waiting lists down, but more action is needed.

She added: “That will help to some extent, but the entire system is broken because as it currently stands is designed by non-trans people under this idea of what we need, and as a result it’s intrusive, invasive, conforms to gender stereotypes very often and it can be difficult for trans people to access that health care.”

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Gomersall also said she had concerns for trans students during the cost-of-living and housing crises, as they are more likely to be discriminated against, struggle to find jobs, at risk of homelessness and ultimately may drop out of their studies.

Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens MSP and the party's equalities spokesperson, insisted that the GRA reform will pass in the current parliamentary term as it is a key part of the Bute House co-operation agreement signed with the SNP after the 2021 Holyrood elections.

She added: “Trans rights are human rights and it’s really important that we stand in solidarity with trans people and all members of the LGBT community.

“The attack that we’re seeing on trans rights and trans people over the last few years is unacceptable, there is no place for transphobia in Scotland and we need to stand in solidarity and make sure that everybody knows trans people are welcome here.”