Earlier in the year, the Scottish Government sought responses to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which proposes changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Responses were due to be submitted no later than 17th March 2020.
Solidarity discussed this consultation at an NEC meeting in January 2020 and agreed that the best forum to discuss the issue in detail, as well as to include all Party members in the discussion, would be at an All Party Members meeting. This meeting took place in Glasgow on Sunday 8th March 2020.
Ahead of the meeting, the Party’s Equalities Officer, Sister Lynn Sherdian, prepared a Report for distribution at the meeting, which was used to both inform members, as well as form the basis of the discussion (the Report is below).
At the meeting, each question within the Consultation was discussed in detail, with numerous contributions from the floor. After each question was discussed a position was agreed on each one. This ultimately formed the basis for the Party’s overall Response to the Consultation.
Members recognised and were cognisant of the fact that Solidarity is and always has been been fiercely against discrimination in all it’s form and will continue to be. However, the consensus was that the GRA proposals in their current form was not acceptable. It was felt that the proposals presented potential and real threats to other rights, particularly those of women. It was also recognised that despite the polarisation of the debate across the country, this was not simply a “for or against” issue, and were dismayed and condemned the attacks and vilification of groups on either side of the debate.
Members felt that alternative options to those proposed in the Consultation were favourable. Consequently, whilst the consensus was to oppose the proposals in their current form, the Party’s Responses to each of the questions proposes alternatives, which will hopefully be seen as a reasoned and sensible middle ground.
Subsequent to the meeting, Sister Sheridan drafted the Party’s Response, which was then officially submitted to the Scottish Government Consultation, via their website, by Brother Ken Ross, the Assistant National Secretary, on 11th March 2020 (the Party’s Response is also below).