Wednesday, 30 November 2016 10:44

CALL for'Year of progress' on transgender equality

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WESTMINSTER DEBATE SET TO HIGHLIGHT REMAINING CHALLENGES

The Scottish National Party has called for 2017 to be a 'year of progress' on transgender equality ahead of a debate in the House of Commons today (Thursday) on the remaining challenges.



In jointly leading the debate Angela Crawley MP, the SNP Equalities spokesperson, will highlight the Scottish Government's pledge to reform gender recognition law in Scotland to meet international best practice, and ensure all transgender and non-binary people are able to get legal recognition of their gender identity.

The MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, who sits on the Women and Equalities Select Committee, will call for the UK government to match this commitment and reform the law in England and Wales so that transgender and non-binary people are "fully able to access their human right to legal gender recognition across the UK".

SNP MPs will also use the debate to call on the UK government to amend the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that all trans and non-binary people are covered by discrimination protections. The SNP called for equality law to be fully devolved during the passage of the Scotland Act 2016, so that the Scottish Parliament could protect and extend anti-discrimination provisions, but the move was blocked and equality law currently remains reserved to Westminster.

Scotland is rated the best country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights, and the SNP Scottish Government is committed to further progress to achieving full equality for LGBTI people.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Angela Crawley MP said:

“While Scotland has made huge progress towards achieving LGBTI equality in recent years, and is now rated the best country in Europe for LGBTI rights, we still have further to go - particularly when it comes to tackling the prejudice and discrimination that trans and non-binary people continue to face.

“I hope that 2017 can be a year of progress for transgender equality in Scotland and across the UK. The Scottish Government is already committed to reforming gender recognition law in Scotland to meet international best practice, and the UK government should match this commitment so all trans and non-binary people in the UK are fully able to access their human right to legal gender recognition.

“I also urge the UK government to listen to LGBTI equality organisations and reform the Equality Act 2010 so that all trans, non-binary and intersex people are fully protected by anti-discrimination provisions. As equality law currently remains reserved to Westminster this cannot be done by the Scottish Parliament, but the UK government would have the full support of SNP MPs if they bring forward plans to improve the law.

"The SNP is committed to making Scotland a fairer and more equal country for all. We were proud to pass Scotland's progressive equal marriage and hate crime laws, and we have delivered record funding for LGBTI equality organisations - but we know that the job of achieving full equality for LGBTI people is not yet done, so we will continue to act in government and push the UK government to take action too.”

Note:

Backbench Business motion for debate (Thursday 1 December 2016):

TRANSGENDER EQUALITY - Maria Miller, Angela Crawley, Mark Durkan
'That this House notes the UK’s status as a pioneer in legislating for equality for LGBT people; welcomes the Government’s announcement of a new trans equality action plan; and calls on the Government to review its response to the recommendations of the Women and Equalities Committee’s report on Transgender Equality to ensure that the UK leads the world on trans equality rights, in particular by giving unequivocal commitments to changing the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in line with the principles of gender self-declaration and replacing confusing and inadequate language regarding trans people in the Equality Act 2010 by creating a new protected characteristic of gender identity.'

First Report of the Women and Equalities Committee, Session 2015-16, on Transgender Equality, HC 390: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmwomeq/390/390.pdf

Nicola Sturgeon pledges gender recognition law reform for trans people: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/01/nicola-sturgeon-gender-recognition-law-trans-people-scotland-snp-lgbti

Scotland rated best in Europe on LGBTI equality: http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland-tops-europe-for-lgbti-equality-and-human-rights-1-4124493

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