MPs and MSPs were among hundreds of people protesting against the UK Government’s decision to block the Scottish Parliament’s gender recognition reform legislation in Glasgow on Saturday morning.

The “Rally for Trans Equality” took place at the Royal Concert Hall steps, with organisers stating their refusal to be “political pawns” in the constitutional argument.

“The UK Government’s choice to block the Scottish GRA reform is an attack on trans rights and an attack on democracy,” they said before the event took place.

The National:

From 11am, protesters waved LGBT+ flags and held signs reading “hands off the GRA reform” and “trans rights now”.

Minister and Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie was among the speakers at the rally, while several MPs and MSPs were in attendance to show their opposition to the UK Government move.

Kaukab Stewart, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, told The National: “We're here today to support our chance of siblings and to call out the absolutely atrocious attack on Scottish democracy by Westminster.”

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP MP for East Renfrewshire, added: “It really is a step way too far if the UK Government think they have the right somehow to overrule the democratically elected MSPs of the Scottish Parliament, who voted very clearly for this to happen.

“It's particularly unpleasant for it to be on this issue, so I thought it was important to come here today to stand up for what I believe is right for the trans community and also for democracy in Scotland.”

The National: Hundreds of protesters turned up for the rallyHundreds of protesters turned up for the rally (Image: Xander Richards)

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which had passed by 86 votes to 39 in the Scottish Parliament last month, would make it easier for transgender people to update some documents to reflect their gender.

But in an unprecedented move, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack issued a Section 35 order on Monday evening to block it, saying the new legislation would impact the UK-wide Equalities Act – a claim that has been questioned by former justice secretary and KC Lord Falconer, a widely respected constitutional expert.

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill allows trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate without the need for a medical diagnosis.

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It also drops the minimum age for applicants to 16, and lowers the time required for an applicant to live as their gender from three years to two months. For 16 and 17-year-olds, this will be six months.

Some women’s groups have said the bill is a threat to women’s safety and women-only spaces.

There have also been concerns raised by the Tories and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over the bill making the age someone can legally change their gender drop from 18 to 16.