Scotland Announces Legal Recognition for Non-Binary People

Kirsty Wigglesworth
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The Scottish Parliament announced today its plans to legally recognize non-binary people. The proposal would allow people to change their gender by signing a statutory declaration starting at age 16. Scotland will be joining a handful of countries to provide full legal recognition of and for those who identify as neither male or female.

The news follows Germany’s ruling on Wednesday that birth certificates should allow a third gender, and Nicola Sturgeon wants to make that happen. Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, pledged on the campaign trail last year that after her efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, she would work on legislation for non-binary recognition.

“Scotland rightly has a reputation as one of the most progressive countries in relation to LGBTI legal and human rights equality in Europe,” said Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, according to The Guardian. “But we need to do more to progress equality for trans people.”

More details of the proposal include the removal of medical evidence and living in the gender for two years. Parliament hopes to make the existing process simpler and less intrusive for the trans and non-binary communities. And in return, the communities have welcomed the proposals.

“It makes sense,” said James Morton, manager of Scottish Trans Alliance. “The current process to change the gender on a trans person’s birth certificate is a humiliating, offensive and expensive red-tape nightmare which requires them to submit intrusive psychiatric evidence to a faceless tribunal panel years after they transitioned.”

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