SNP politicians tell Scottish Government not to 'rush' into gender self-identification

Proposed changes to gender laws have created a rift within the SNPReuters

A group of SNP politicians has pleaded with the Scottish Government to give proper consideration to proposed changes to gender laws. 

The Scottish Government is considering changing the Gender Recognition Act so that people can easily change their gender without need for medical evidence.  Under the current law, people who wish to change their gender must be diagnosed with gender dysphoria and live in their acquired gender for at least two years. 

The proposed changes have split opinion in Scotland, with critics fearing that the rights and safety of women and girls will be compromised. 

However, they have also created a rift within the SNP

In an open letter, 15 senior SNP politicians are urging the Scottish Government not to "rush" ahead with the changes. 

Signatories include government ministers Kate Forbes, Ash Denham and Ivan McKee, The Scotsman reports.  

They say that "conflating sex with gender identification affects a wide range of policy and service delivery, including data collection, education, health and social care, justice and sport".

"New information about this topic is emerging all the time and deserves to be properly scrutinised," they say, adding, "Changing the definition of male and female is a matter of profound significance. It is not something we should rush."

The letter has also been signed by Joan McAlpine, Ruth Maguire, Christine Grahame, Kenneth Gibson, Carol Monaghan, Angus Macneil, Joanna Cherry and Patricia Gibson, Chris McEleny, Caroline McAllister, Shaun Macaulay, and Lynne Anderson.

In the letter, they defended the right of parliamentarians to express their concerns without fear of abuse. 

Parliamentarians should, they said, be able to "discuss questions of law, policy and practice in relation to definitions of sex and gender in good faith, and without being subject to abuse of any kind".

They also welcomed comments last week by the Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Shirley-Anne Somerville who said that "people raising genuine concerns about women's rights shouldn't suffer knee jerk accusations of transphobia".