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British government blocks Scottish law intended to make it easier to legally change gender

The British government on Monday blocked a controversial Scottish law that would have made it easier for people to legally change their gender.

The Gender Recognition Bill would have allowed residents to obtain a gender recognition certificate without needing a medical diagnosis for gender dysphoria.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, who blocked the bill from proceeding further, said he was concerned about the impact to “equalities legislation” within the United Kingdom

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Scottish flags are held by demonstrators, outside the Supreme Court, in London, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. British leaders on Monday blocked a Scottish law that would have made it easier to change one's legal gender.

Scottish flags are held by demonstrators, outside the Supreme Court, in London, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. British leaders on Monday blocked a Scottish law that would have made it easier to change one’s legal gender.
(.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali))

“After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation,” Jack said in a statement.

“Transgender people who are going through the process to change their legal sex deserve our respect, support and understanding,” he added. “My decision today is about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters.”

The move was a unique intervention from the British government, according to local media. 

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Scottish lawmakers passed the bill in December but critics said it would undermine women’s rights. The bill also would have lowered the age people can apply for a gender recognition certificate (GRC) from 18 to 16.

Jack said he would consider an amended version of the bill.

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