Labour, the SNP, and the Conservatives have all voted tonight to support an anti-trans measure in Scotland, in a vote on a Labour amendment to the Forensic Medical Services Bill in Holyrood.
The amendment replaces the word “gender” with the word “sex” in the Bill, and was opposed only by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens.
The move, which was opposed by Rape Crisis Scotland as well as other advocacy groups, has already been slammed on social media as a regressive step, and a deeply transphobic signal.
What’s more – it may well be a pointless or illegal step. Section 9(1) of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 makes clear that “where a full gender recognition certificate is issued to a person, the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that, if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man and, if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman).”
On Twitter, many have praised the principled stand by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens, including one user who thanked the Scottish Lib Dems for having “a spine”, and Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh West) in particular.
The move is likely to confirm fears that the SNP has been increasingly captured by the anti-trans movement, and to spark similar worries that Scottish Labour is moving in the same direction.
A Lib Dem source tonight said that “the decision by the SNP, Labour and the Conservatives is disgraceful, and robs people of their dignity. The Liberal Democrats will always stand up for trans rights, and will never bow to the pressure of anti-trans advocacy groups.”