• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Gender Reform Bill Blocked, Why?

ByMelisa Saltoglu

Feb 5, 2023
Transgender pride flag on top of building

Another divide between the Scottish parliament and the UK government has slammed the rights of the trans community across the UK. A protest was sparked after a rift formed between the Scottish parliament, which passed the Gender Reform Bill in December, making it easier for young people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate, and the UK government, which later blocked the change.

According to the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, “The Bill would have a significant impact on, amongst other things, GB-wide equalities matters in Scotland, England and Wales”, including the operation of schools, single-sex clubs and equal pay. But Sturgeon simply sees the block as a “full-frontal attack” on Scottish rights.

The intervention understandably created a stir within the Scottish trans community and equally upset Scottish MPs who stood with the cohort on Buchanan Street to show solidarity, chanting, “when trans rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
The protest also caught the attention of controversial author JK Rowling.

Responding to a photograph of two Scottish MPs standing in front of a sign reading “Decapitate TERFs”, Rowling tweeted, “a strange new form of temporary blindness has broken out among Scottish politicians. None of them could read placards calling for violence against women”. The tweet was in reference to the photographed MP’s defence, “I have many qualities, but having eyes in the back of my head isn’t one of them.”

The mini Twitter duel reflects the public debate concerning the UK government’s intervention- one by which the liberation of trans rights directly opposes the efforts for women’s rights and safety.


Furthermore, members of the public used online spaces to share their perspectives, with one internet user commenting, “The problem comes when one group’s rights tread on the rights of another.”


Susan Smith, the co-director for Women Scotland, is another in support of the block, who suggested that the bill passed by the Scottish parliament “failed to protect women.”

The history of trans rights has long been a source of debate and hypocrisy. Deciding when and where boundaries fall in the legislature can be difficult. However, compromises in legislation need to be made in order to ensure the safety and inclusion of the trans community across the country.

Image Credit: “Transgender Pride Flag” by Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is licensed under CC BY 2.0