Henry Mills

In a major win for trans rights, Scotland’s landmark Gender Recognition Reform Act has passed its first round of voting.

Back in March, the Scottish government introduced plans to “improve” the process of getting a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

Under the inclusive bill, trans people 16 and older would be able to obtain the aforementioned gender-affirming document.

The new legislation would also amend the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and introduce new criteria for applicants to follow.

Among the proposed changes, individuals would no longer be required to supply medical reports or evidence when applying for the certificate.

Trans people would also no longer go before the Gender Recognition Panel and instead would be sent to Registrar General for Scotland to start the GRC process.

Lastly, applicants will have to live in their acquired gender for three months before officially receiving the documentation.

On 27 October, lawmakers finally voted on the Gender Recognition Reform Act – which passed overwhelmingly with 88 votes for “yes,” 33 votes for “no,” and four “abstentions.”

Shortly after the results were announced, LGBTQ+ activists and organisations expressed excitement over the landmark vote.

In a statement to The National, Director of the Equality Network Tim Hopkins said: “Through this vote, Scotland’s Parliament continues our steady progress towards a fair and equal country that respects everyone’s rights.”

Green MSP Maggie Chapman echoed similar sentiments in a statement to Holyrood.

“Today, together, we set out a path in the right direction,” Chapman told the news outlet.

While most lawmakers and the Scottish people supported the vote, the aforementioned debate resulted in the resignation of Community Safety Minister Ash Regan (per The Guardian).

“I have considered the issue of Gender Recognition Reform very carefully over some time. I have concluded that my conscience will not allow me to vote with the government at Stage 1 of the bill this afternoon,” she wrote hours before the vote.

Even though First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accepted her resignation, she also noted that it was the first time she’s heard of Regan’s concerns.

“I note that at no stage have you approached me – or indeed the cabinet secretary for Social Justice – to raise your concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform bill or the vote this evening,” Sturgeon said.

“However, in circumstances in which a minister is unable to support the government, it is the case that the only options available are resignation ahead of the vote or dismissal thereafter. I therefore accept your resignation.”

With the first round of voting concluded, the Gender Recognition Reform Act is now headed to the amending stage of the legislative process.