THE majority of the Scottish Parliament’s equalities committee has agreed to the general principles of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, except for Tory MSPs.

The committee has seven members. Five from the SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour supported the reforms which aims to make it easier for transgender people in Scotland to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), while the two Tory MSPs did not.

The findings have been welcomed by LGBT campaigners who urged MSPs from all parties to back the legislation as it makes its way through parliament. The stage one debate for the legislation is set for October 27.

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The bill would remove the medical requirement and panel process and panel process allowing trans people to self-identify, and make it so they would only have to live in their acquired gender for three months instead of two years before obtaining a GRC, and a declaration would be made in front of a notary public or a justice of the peace.

The document would be awarded by the Registrar General instead of a medical panel. The age for applying for a GRC would also be lowered from 18 to 16.

The Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee published its stage one report on the bill on Thursday morning.

Committee convener Joe FitzPatrick MSP thanked those who had contributed to the committee’s scrutiny of the bill, adding that they had heard a “wide range of views” in both written and oral evidence.

He said: “Whilst not all the committee agreed, for the majority of our members it is clear that now is the time for reform of the gender recognition process and we support the general principles within the bill.

The National: Fitzpatrick is the convener of the equalities committeeFitzpatrick is the convener of the equalities committee

"We believe these important reforms will improve the lives and experiences of trans people.”

Vic Valentine, manager of Scottish Trans, said that it had been almost five years since the Scottish Government first consulted on the reforms.

They added: “We are pleased that, as with every step of the way along this process, after carefully considering the case for improving the way that trans men and women update the sex recorded on their birth certificate the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee agrees with the principles of the Bill and with significantly reforming the law that is currently in place in Scotland.

“We urge MSPs to now also vote in favour of reforms, and to make a real difference to the lives of trans people in Scotland.”

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Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: “We welcome this report and commend it to MSPs in advance of the stage one debate on October 27. The large majority of the Committee support the bill, but unsurprisingly, the two Tories on the Committee oppose it.

“The bill is supported by four out of five of the parties in the Parliament, and we hope that MSPs will approve it on the 27th.”

Meanwhile, Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland said the committee report is another “milestone” in Scotland’s gender reforms.

He added: “We are pleased the majority of the committee support the bill and the proposals in it and we thank the committee for their detailed work. The stage one debate on the proposals will take place on October 27, we will continue to work with all MSPs and hope they will vote to approve the bill at its first stage."

The final line of the lengthy report reads: “By a majority of five to two, the committee recommends that the general principles of the bill be approved.”

The majority who support the general principles are FitzPatrick (SNP), Maggie Chapman (Green), Karen Adam (SNP), Fulton MacGregor (SNP) and Pam Duncan-Glancy (Labour).

The minority who do not support the general principles are Pam Gosal and Rachael Hamilton (Tory).