The United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that his government may oppose the legislation a day after Scotland passed its gender recognition law, according to The Guardian on Friday.
According to a report in The Guardian, other Westminster officials expressed their willingness to consider the “nuclear option” of stopping the new law from receiving royal assent, despite the prime minister’s statement that “it is completely reasonable” for the UK government to examine it.
Shona Robison, the social justice secretary for Scotland, had earlier responded to the criticism of UK politicians by stating that her government would take any obstruction of the law to court.
The Scottish parliament hailed December 22 as “a historic day for equality” after passing the landmark legislation that made Scotland the first region of the UK to implement a self-identification system for people who want to change their gender.
The law makes significant changes to the procedure for obtaining a certificate of gender recognition.
Currently, they must submit an application to a UK gender recognition panel and two medical reports, one of which must include a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria and the other listing any medication or surgery they may have undergone to alter their sexual characteristics. Before applying for the GRC, candidates should have lived in their acquired gender on a long-term basis for at least two years.
The current system “has a negative impact on people applying for gender recognition,” according to the Scottish government. Additionally, it states that the application process for the GRC “can be demeaning, intrusive, distressing, and stressful.”
Applications will be submitted to the Registrar General for Scotland rather than the UK panel under the new gender recognition law. Additionally, it eliminates the requirement for a gender dysphoria medical diagnosis and, for the first time, opens up the application process to applicants aged 16 and 17.
The new self-identification system mandates that applicants have resided in the acquired gender for at least three months and six months, respectively, for those who are under the age of 18, before applying. Before a certificate is issued, it also gives the applicant a three-month window for reflection.
Law reformers, according to their detractors, risk undermining the rights that women have fought for over a long period of time. They worry that men who abuse women might use the new system to undermine their safety.
Reem Alsalem, the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women, warned the equalities committee of the Scottish parliament that the introduction of gender self-identification could allow violent men to “get into women’s spaces and have access to women” through legal loopholes.
In the meantime, author J.K. Rowling, a steadfast opponent of trans rights, claimed that the Scottish government’s reforms had “triggered” her because “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.” She even shared a selfie on Twitter in October of this year while wearing a T-shirt labeling Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, a “destroyer of women’s rights.”
The leaders of the Scottish Conservative Party have also charged the government with hastily passing the law and failing to fully explain the reforms. The Scottish Conservative Party’s Rachael Hamilton reportedly told Social Justice Secretary Robison that her party does not have support from the Scottish people for the new law and that, “in the rush to make the process a little easier for trans people, the government is making it easier for criminal men to attack women,” according to a report by The Guardian.