SCOTLAND’s gender reform legislation has PASSED after three days of lengthy debates and numerous Tory attempts to delay the bill into the New Year.

MSPs debated 153 amendments over two mammoth sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, which lasted well into the small hours.

We told how MSPs were furious at Scottish Tory attempts to filibuster and drag out the debates, with one dubbing it “shithousery”.

READ MORE: Did MSPs vote 'to allow sex criminals to change gender'?

But despite repeated attempts to strike the bill down and numerous delays, MSPs voted to back the reforms with 86 votes for yes, 39 for no and no abstentions.

The new law has prompted rebellions across the chamber, with nine SNP MSPs voting against, including former minister Ash Regan.

Regan was joined by Michelle Thomson, Stephanie Callaghan, Annabelle Ewing, Fergus Ewing, Kenneth Gibson, John Mason, Jim Fairlie and Ruth Maguire. All nine also voted against reforms at the first stage. 

Meanwhile, two Labour MSPs – Carol Mochan and Claire Baker – voted against the party whip to oppose the legislation, while it is understood some Labour opponents to the bill were allowed to miss the vote.

Mochan and Baker both hold frontbench positions within the Scottish Labour Party which they will now be expected to quit.

The National: Mochan voted against the reforms and its understood she will lose her spokesperson role as a resultMochan voted against the reforms and its understood she will lose her spokesperson role as a result

For the Tories, Jamie Greene, former leader Jackson Carlaw and Dr Sandesh Gulhane, voted in favour of the reforms. All Scottish Green and LibDem MSPs backed the reforms, while four MSPs did not vote. 

The final debate was marred with protests from the gallery, with some members of the public who were opponents of the bill removed by police officers after shouting "shame on you" at the final result.

Before the debate was wrapped up, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison hit out at some of the language used by MSPs.

She told the chamber: "I’m sad to say that I’m aware of a trans woman who was in this estate who was referred to as 'it' by an MSP to another colleague. That has nothing to do with protecting women and girls, but has everything to do with transphobia.

"Let's agree that the othering of a minority within our society is totally wrong and if we hear such prejudice here in this parliament or anywhere else, that we call it out for what it is because we are better than that."

READ MORE: Alister Jack threatens to block Royal Assent of gender reforms

Before moving the bill for a final vote, she added: "Trans rights are not in competition with women’s rights, and as so often before, we can improve things for everyone when those discriminated against act as allies, not opponents."

A number of MSPs gathered in the garden lobby following the vote to celebrate with supporters. Gillian Mackay, the Greens business manager, told The National she was pleased that the bill had finally passed despite Tory delay tactics.

Tory MSPs called numerous points of order and moved amendments which had been dropped by proposers to drag out proceedings over Tuesday and Wednesday. Overall, MSPs debated the reforms for approximately 24 hours, with the amendment sessions lasting long into the night, finishing after 1.15am on Wednesday.

Mackay said: "I'm so pleased that we've got to this point that we've overcome the [Tory] filibustering, that we've improved rights for trans people and recognition for trans people here in Scotland.

"I think by the time we got the amendments done last night, we knew that was us, we were over the hill, we were on our way.

"I'm just so pleased that we've done this, it's done, we've improved things and that we're on the right side of history here."

Maggie Chapman, Greens equality spokesperson, said she was "delighted" the bill had passed, adding that although it was a small step it would make a "significant difference" to lives of trans people living in Scotland.

She told The National: "What we need to make sure now is that we actually follow through on our promises and our commitments to non-binary people to ensure that we get full legal recognition for them, and we've got a whole host of other things to do in the LGBTQIA policy space as well as the broader equalities agenda.

"We have to tackle the waiting lists in trans healthcare and the underinvestment that’s seen consistently, and we need to ensure that next year we ban conversion practices for good."

READ MORE: MSPs lash out at Tory 's***housery' amid gender reform delays

Asked how she was feeling after leading for the party on interventions throughout the mammoth sessions, Chapman said she got the “easy job” as she was able to speak on a policy she believes “passionately about”. 

Scottish-Greens co-leader Harvie said he was "a bit exhausted" after the lengthy debates, but praised contributions from female MSPs in the final debate.

He said: "it's been kind of ignored the fact that most of Scotland's womens and feminist organisations and many, many individuals have been supportive of this.

"Today I think we've heard some really, really powerful speeches from women -. Maggie, Shona, Pam Duncan-Glancy, Emma Roddick and others - and I think that was really one of the standout characteristics of the final debate, that those were the dominant voices, and that really matters."

Joe Fitzpatrick, SNP MSP and convener of the equalities committee which scrutinised and signed off on the legislation, said the bill had been a "long time coming". Earlier in the debate Fitzpatrick became emotional as he urged MSPs to sign off on the reforms.

The National: Fitzpatrick said the reforms had been a long time comingFitzpatrick said the reforms had been a long time coming

Speaking after the vote, he told The National: "We’ve taken lots and lots of evidence, and lots of what we heard had nothing to do with this bill.

"But you know, today is amazing, a two thirds-majority, it’s absolutely brilliant. I'm so pleased for Scotland’s trans community."

Asked about the mammoth debate sessions and the language used by some MSPs, particularly from the Tory benches, Fitzpatrick added: "I found a lot of it quite painful to hear because people were being misgendered constantly, not just in my committee, but in the chamber.

"But you know, this was all about improving the lives of trans people and I'm so pleased that by such a big majority, the Scottish Parliament has said yes."

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: 'I won't apologise for trying to spread equality'

LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton added that he was "immensely proud" the bill had passed. 

Meanwhile the Scottish Tories, who were the main opponents to the bill, continued to claim the reforms would put women and girls at risk, and said it would be a "legacy issue" for the First Minister.

Rachael Hamilton, the party's equalities spokesperson, moved numerous amendments including an attempt to reintroduce a medical element to the requirements.

She said following the vote: "Myself and the vast majority of my Scottish Conservative colleagues have three main objections to this bill: the inadequate three-month time limit for GRC applicants to have lived in their acquired gender, the lack of requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and the lowering of the age limit from 18 to 16.

The National: Hamilton led opposition to the reforms for the ToriesHamilton led opposition to the reforms for the Tories

“But because this is a matter of conscience, with strongly-held opinions on either side of the debate, our party rightly made it a free vote.

“It was shameful that the other parties made it a whipped vote in an effort to silence those in their ranks opposed to the bill.”  

Meanwhile, STUC General Secretary, Roz Foyer welcomed the reforms as a "historic step". She said: "For too long, trans people in Scotland have had to navigate a bureaucratic, dehumanising, and costly process to gain legal gender recognition.

“The Scottish trade union movement has been at the forefront of fighting for justice and equality for all workers.  This has – and always will include – protecting and advancing the rights of trans people both in the workplace and in society.”

Which MSPs voted for and against the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill at stage three? 


Yes votes:                  86

No votes:                   39

Abstentions:             0

Not voting:                4


Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)

Adam, Karen (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)

Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)

Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)

Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)

Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)

Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)

Boyack, Sarah (Lothian) (Lab)

Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)

Brown, Siobhian (Ayr) (SNP)

Burgess, Ariane (Highlands and Islands) (Green)

Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)

Chapman, Maggie (North East Scotland) (Green)

Choudhury, Foysol (Lothian) (Lab)

Clark, Katy (West Scotland) (Lab)

Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)

Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)

Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)

Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)

Don, Natalie (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)

Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)

Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)

Dunbar, Jackie (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)

Duncan-Glancy, Pam (Glasgow) (Lab)

FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)

Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)

Gougeon, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)

Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)

Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

Gray, Neil (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)

Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)

Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)

Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Gulhane, Sandesh (Glasgow) (Con)

Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)

Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)

Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)

Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)

Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)

Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)

Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)

Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)

MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)

Mackay, Gillian (Central Scotland) (Green)

Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)

Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)

Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)

McAllan, Màiri (Clydesdale) (SNP)

McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD)

McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)

McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)

McLennan, Paul (East Lothian) (SNP)

McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)

McNair, Marie (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP)

Minto, Jenni (Argyll and Bute) (SNP)

Nicoll, Audrey (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)

O'Kane, Paul (West Scotland) (Lab)

Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)

Robertson, Angus (Edinburgh Central) (SNP)

Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)

Roddick, Emma (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)

Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)

Slater, Lorna (Lothian) (Green)

Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)

Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)

Stevenson, Collette (East Kilbride) (SNP)

Stewart, Kaukab (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)

Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)

Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)

Sweeney, Paul (Glasgow) (Lab)

Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)

Todd, Maree (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)

Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

Tweed, Evelyn (Stirling) (SNP)

Villalba, Mercedes (North East Scotland) (Lab)

Whitfield, Martin (South Scotland) (Lab)

Whitham, Elena (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)

Wishart, Beatrice (Shetland Islands) (LD)

Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)



Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)

Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)

Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)

Callaghan, Stephanie (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)

Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)

Dowey, Sharon (South Scotland) (Con)

Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)

Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)

Fairlie, Jim (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)

Findlay, Russell (West Scotland) (Con)

Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

Gallacher, Meghan (Central Scotland) (Con)

Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)

Golden, Maurice (North East Scotland) (Con)

Gosal, Pam (West Scotland) (Con)

Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)

Hoy, Craig (South Scotland) (Con)

Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)

Kerr, Stephen (Central Scotland) (Con)

Lumsden, Douglas (North East Scotland) (Con)

Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)

Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)

McCall, Roz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

Mochan, Carol (South Scotland) (Lab)

Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)

Regan, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)

Ross, Douglas (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)

Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

Thomson, Michelle (Falkirk East) (SNP)

Webber, Sue (Lothian) (Con)

Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)

White, Tess (North East Scotland) (Con)

Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)