SCOTLAND’S Gender Recognition Reform will be a “watershed moment for equality” if it is delivered, the Scottish Greens said ahead of the first stage debate on the legislation at Holyrood.

MSPs will today debate the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill for the first time after years of delays and numerous consultations over the legislation.

Ahead of the first stage, LGBT campaigners will hold an event outside of Holyrood calling on MSPs to back the reforms.

The bill aims to make it easier and less traumatic for transgender people in Scotland to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

READ MORE: Trans campaigners prepare for first Scottish Parliament debate on GRA reform

It would remove the medical requirement and panel process and instead allow trans people to self-identify. 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.

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

The bill is expected to easily pass its first stage as it has support from the SNP, whose MSPs will be whipped to support the legislation, the Scottish Greens, Scottish Labour and the Scottish LibDems, who all had manifesto commitments to reforms.

The Scottish Tories however, on the eve of the vote, wrote to Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison outlining their concerns over the bill, and called for all parties to be allowed a free vote as it is an “issue of conscience”.

The Scottish Greens equalities spokesperson, Maggie Chapman, said: “This Bill will be a watershed moment and can put Scotland at the forefront of equality in the UK.

“We will always stand with the LGBTQIA+ community. Over recent years there has been a huge and cynical campaign of disinformation and prejudice that has been waged against our trans siblings in particular.

“Self-identification is a crucial reform, but it is only one part of the change that is needed. The Scotland that we want to build is an inclusive one that has equality at its heart and gives everyone the opportunity to live, love and thrive.”

It comes after the majority of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee recommended that MSPs support the general principles of the bill. The two Tory MSPs on the committee, Pam Gosal and Rachael Hamilton, declined to back the reforms.

And, ahead of the vote, Hamilton reiterated her concerns over changes to the age requirements, the reduction of living in acquired gender from two years to three months and the removal of the medical requirement which she claimed could leave the process “more open to abuse”.

Hamilton said: “It is clear that there are compelling and deeply held views on all sides of this debate, but the SNP Government risks doing more harm than good if they get this wrong.

“We must address the concerns that transgender individuals have with the current process, but this cannot come at the expense of putting at risk vulnerable people or protections for women and girls.

“I urge all parties to consider the serious concerns I have set out today and follow our lead in making the Bill a free vote, so that we can scrutinise this legislation with the honesty and good faith it merits.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, after JK Rowling wore a t-shirt declaring her a “destroyer of women’s rights”, defended the bill and claims from ‘Gender Critical’ activists that it would take away rights from women.

READ MORE: There is no shortgage of hard facts showing risks of gender self-ID

She said: “It is men who attack women and we need to focus on that, not on further stigmatising and discriminating against a tiny group in our society that is already one of the most stigmatised.”

Scottish Trans, part of the Equality Network, is set to host an event for supporters of the reforms outside of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon.

There will be speeches from 12.45pm onwards, including from transgender people who will be affected by the reforms, with SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour MSPs also contributing.

Two local artists, Latoy and Evay, will also create a visual piece for the event focusing on the theme of recognition.