London blocks Scottish transgender law

The British government is taking action against a controversial reform bill in Scotland aimed at simplifying how trans people apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Westminster says the legislation violates equality rules that are supposed to apply throughout the UK. Europe's press sees other reasons for the dispute.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Trans people between the fronts

The Frankfurter Rundschau condemns what it sees as political manoeuvering:

“In view of the ongoing Scottish independence efforts, it's not surprising that London wants to take a hard stance vis-à-vis Edinburgh. But that Sunak is at the same time using these aspirations to pacify the right-wing fringe of his Tory camp, which wants to prevent social progress for the benefit of marginalised groups at all costs, is outrageous. Sunak is once again allowing trans people to be caught between the fronts of a political tussle and lose out. And this despite the fact that the Scottish reform actually only guarantees them what they are entitled to anyway: a dignified life.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Westminster's blockade is wrong

The balance between equality and regional self-determination was wrongly assessed in this case The Irish Times criticises:

“The proper course for the minister must be, in the spirit of devolution, to allow Scottish MLAs a margin of discretion, particularly where potential interference with equality rights is marginal or even theoretical. In Northern Ireland it clearly was not marginal - all women were excluded from access to abortion services. It was right for Westminster to intervene. It is not right now.”

The Scotsman (GB) /

An avoidable dispute

The Scottish government also seems to be more interested in confrontation than it is in consensus, The Scotsman criticises:

“The Bill should have been delayed to allow a more serious and considered consultation process and address a number of concerns about its unintended consequences, including that it could be used by predatory men who are not transgender to access women-only spaces such as refuges. Nicola Sturgeon had a chance to build a consensus about how to improve the rights of transgender people, but she chose not to do so and must take at least a share of the blame for the resulting dispute with Westminster.”