As LGBTI History Month 2017 draws to a close, SNP Equalities spokesperson Angela Crawley MP has today (Sunday) launched a new campaign for transgender and non-binary equality – calling on the UK government to finally make a “clear and unequivocal” commitment to comprehensive legislative reforms within the lifetime of this parliament. The MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, who sits on the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee, has launched a petition [www.transequalitycampaign.co.uk] and said that the UK government must “stop delaying” and pledge to reform the law to extend discrimination protections, improve gender recognition rights, and give Scotland greater equality powers, by:
- Updating the Equality Act 2010 to extend the protected characteristics and ensure that all trans and non-binary people are fully protected from discrimination
- Reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004, and scrapping the ‘spousal veto’ in England and Wales, to ensure all trans and non-binary people are fully and more easily able to access their human right to legal gender recognition – in line with international best practice.
- Devolving equality law to Scotland so that the Scottish Parliament has full powers to protect and extend LGBTI equality.
Without the full devolution of equality law the Scottish Parliament remains unable to protect or extend LGBTI anti-discrimination provisions. The SNP called for equality law to be fully devolved during the passage of the Scotland Act 2016, but the move was blocked by Tory MPs, and equality law currently remains reserved to Westminster.
The Scottish Government has already committed to reforming gender recognition law in Scotland, within the current parliament. Angela Crawley is calling on the UK government to match that commitment in England and Wales, and also commit to working with the Scottish Government on any consequential amendments to reserved legislation arising from the Scottish reforms. LGBTI History Month takes place each February.
Scotland is rated the best country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights, and the SNP Scottish Government is committed to further progress to achieving full equality for LGBTI people.
Commenting Angela Crawley MP said:
“LGBTI History Month has been an important opportunity not just to reflect on how far we have come but also to recognise how far we still have to go to achieve full equality for LGBTI people.
“In particular there is still much more to do to ensure full legal equality for trans and non-binary people, and to tackle the unacceptable levels of prejudice and discrimination that they continue to face.
“The UK government must now stop the delays, and finally make a clear and unequivocal commitment to deliver comprehensive legislative reforms for trans and non-binary equality within the lifetime of this parliament.
“This must include updating the Equality Act 2010 to extend the protected characteristics – ensuring that all trans, non-binary, and intersex people are fully protected by anti-discrimination provisions, as well as devolving equality law to Scotland so that the Scottish Parliament has the full powers to protect and extend LGBTI equality.
“The UK government must also follow the lead of the Scottish Government by committing to reform gender recognition law to ensure that all trans and non-binary people are fully and more easily able to access their human right to legal gender recognition – in line with international best practice.
“LGBTI equality activists and organisations have called for these reforms for many years and now we need to see action – not just more warm words.
“The SNP is committed to making Scotland a fairer and more equal country for all. We were proud to pass Scotland’s progressive equal marriage and hate crime laws, and we have delivered record funding for LGBTI equality organisations. Scotland is now rated the best country in Europe for LGBTI equality, but we know that the job of achieving full equality is not yet done, so we will continue to act in government and push the UK government to take action too.”
Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network – the Scottish LGBTI equality charity, said:
“We were really pleased that the Scottish Government committed last year to bringing our gender recognition law up to international best practice, and that during the Holyrood election campaign, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the importance of legal recognition for non-binary people. We anticipate that the Scottish Government will begin implementation of this soon, and hope that the UK Government will also commit to make these changes for England and Wales.
“For many years, we have been calling for the UK Government to devolve equality law to Scotland, so that it can be developed to best suit Scotland’s needs, including filling the gaps that leave intersex people and many trans people without protection from discrimination. We hope that there can be progress on this also.”