THE Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has said there is no “objectively evidenced prospect” of gender reform causing harm to women after a UN Special Rapporteur wrote to the UK Government to express concerns about the legislation.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill has now reached the final stage of parliamentary scrutiny.

If passed, the bill would shorten the amount of time transgender people have to live in their acquired gender from two years to three months before becoming eligible to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (which allows them to change the gender on their birth certificate).

It would also remove the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and allow transgender people to self-identify.

However, concerns have been expressed by a small number of groups who believe the legislation threatens the rights of women.

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Last month, UN Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women and Girls, Reem Alsalem, wrote a letter to the UK Government which expressed concern that the Scottish legislation could have global consequences and claimed that self-ID would allow men to “abuse” the process.

She claimed that the legislation would “open the door for violent males who identify as men to abuse the process of acquiring a gender certificate and the rights that are associated with it.”

A coalition of women’s groups based in Scotland then replied to Alsalem refuting her points, including her claim that the bill would interfere with the Equality Act, which assures the sanctity of single-sex spaces.

Now the SRHC has published its own rebuttal to Alsalem’s concerns, which have been picked up and touted by Scottish Conservative MSPs as serious enough to warrant delaying the legislation.

In a briefing published this morning, the human rights organisation said: “We examined and analysed the concerns which had been raised in relation to the risks to the rights of women and girls.

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“We could not identify any objectively evidenced prospect of real and concrete harm resulting from the proposed 3 changes.

“In our analysis, we consistently found that holding a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) does not determine how a person is treated in the key areas of concern – prisons, data, sport, access to medical treatment, access to single-sex services, changing rooms and toilets.

They added: “The Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls raises these areas of concern again and seeks further consideration.

“It is our view that each of these issues have been comprehensively considered through the public consultations in 2018 and 2020 and through a thorough process of evidence-taking by the Scottish Parliament at Stage one. That process heard from witnesses with a wide range of views, including those critical of the Bill.

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“Having heard the evidence, the relevant Parliamentary Committee concluded that the concerns raised went beyond the scope of the Bill and were satisfied that the Bill itself would not change any of the protections of the Equality Act, nor would it change or remove women’s rights, or change the effect of a GRC. We share that view.”

It is expected that the legislation will pass when MSPs cast their final votes, which is expected to occur before Christmas.