UK government vetoes Scottish law facilitating gender reassignment

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The UK government decided to veto a law passed in December by the Scottish parliament that facilitated the process for transgender people to change the gender declared in their civil documents.

This is the first time that the British government has barred a law passed by the Scottish Parliament since 1999, when London returned powers to create its own laws in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – the three countries that, together with England, make up the United Kingdom.

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A specific article of the law that devolved powers to countries allows the central government to veto laws passed locally if they conflict with UK law. The British government said the new law clashes with other legislation in the country related to equality, but did not elaborate.

Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit back, calling the move an “outrage” and a “frontal attack” on her government. She will most likely appeal against London’s decision in court.

independence from scotland

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The decision is sure to widen the disputes between the two governments, prompting Sturgeon and his Scottish National Party (SNP) to step up the campaign for Scottish independence.

The nationalist SNP has always argued that Scotland, in the north of the island of Great Britain, where England and Wales are also located, should leave the United Kingdom.

The situation has gotten worse since 2016, when the United Kingdom approved Brexit in a referendum, the country’s exit from the European Union. In Scotland, the proposal lost by 62% of the vote to 38%. Since then, the Scottish government has been talking about holding a new referendum on the country’s independence. In 2014, an identical proposal was defeated by 55.3% against 44.7% of the votes.

Understand the controversial law

There were already laws in the UK allowing people to change their gender on their documents. But the process is time-consuming and considered invasive. Currently, all applicants need to be screened during the process by a UK gender recognition panel.

In addition, they need to present two medical diagnoses proving the incompatibility between the person’s biological sex and their gender identity.

To top it off, transgender people need to prove they have lived for at least two years, full-time, in their gender experience. At the end of it all, they must swear that they intend to continue for the rest of their lives with their current gender experience.

The law passed in Scotland eliminated any need for a medical diagnosis and reduced the period in which applicants need to have lived in their current gender to three months.
In addition, it lowered the minimum age for those interested in the process from 18 to 16 years.

The World Health Organization stopped classifying transsexuality as a mental disorder earlier this year.

Source: CNN Brasil

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