Parents facing seven years in JAIL if they don't let children change gender under 'chilling' SNP plans

Parents facing seven years in JAIL if they don't let children change gender under 'chilling' SNP plans
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 10/01/2024

- 10:34

Updated: 10/01/2024

- 10:36

New proposals published on Tuesday would criminalise any actions designed to suppress the gender identity of another individual

Parents are facing up to seven years in jail if they don't let their children change gender, under new plans put forward by the SNP.

Scotland is looking at implementing a ban on conversion therapy, which would criminalise any actions designed to "change or suppress" the gender identity of another individual, and any action that causes another individual physical harm or psychological distress.

The plans, published yesterday, would make it illegal for parents to prevent a child from "dressing in a way that reflects their sexual orientation or gender identity".

Marion Calder, director at the campaign group For Women Scotland, claimed the plans are part of a "gender ideology cult".

She said: "We have grave concerns that these plans will criminalise loving parents, who could face years in jail simply for refusing to sign up to the gender ideology cult.

“They will also hand activists and social workers unprecedented powers to meddle in family life, while having a chilling impact on therapists and counsellors."

She warned that if the SNP "insists" on pushing this laws through, it could end up "going the same way" as the self-identification and named person laws - which were blocked by Westminster.

But defending the proposals last year, Blair Anderson, from the End Conversion Therapy Campaign, explained: "Where a conversation takes place where someone has the explicit intention, or the hope or the aim or the desire to change someone's sexuality or gender which is not possible, which is extremely traumatising: that should be banned because banning that protects LGBTQ plus people from harm."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Conversion practices that try to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are harmful, discriminatory, and have no place in our society.

"We're committed to introducing legislation that will ban these harmful practices as far as possible within devolved competence just as many jurisdictions across the world have already done, and UK Government intends to partially do.

"This will be done fully recognising and respecting the legal right to freedom of religion, expression and a private and family life, which are protected under existing laws."

Last year, the SNP lost its fight against Westminster over the party's controversial trans reforms.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that the UK Government acted lawfully when it blocked the gender reforms in Scotland, which the SNP attempted to introduce earlier this year.

The party attempted to challenge the Government's decision to block a law introduced in Scotland earlier this year, which would have made it easier for trans people across the border to change their legal gender.

It would have sped up the process of acquiring a gender recognition certificate (GRC), which is seen as an integral part of trans inclusion.

The proposed reforms would remove the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, allowing people to apply for a GRC as long as they have been living as the gender they identify with for three months. This is a reduction from the current minimum of three years.

A total of 11 European countries have introduced similar reforms.

The plans would have allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to legally change their gender. But people under the age of 18 would have to be living as the gender they identify with for at least six months.

The Government blocked the legislation under Section 35 of the Scotland Act, which allows a UK secretary of state to stop a bill from getting royal assent if they have reasonable grounds to believe the law would have an adverse effect on legislation reserved to Westminster.

Westminster’s decision to block the bill from going for royal assent is the first time Section 35 has been used.

Scottish Trans said the current UK-wide requirements for applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate are overly laborious.


The organisation said: "The time, evidence, and money required, as well as the emotional toll of potentially having an application rejected, mean that many trans people do not apply – even those who have otherwise 'completed' every other aspect of their transition."

It adds: "This is very frustrating for many trans men and women who find that this slow, bureaucratic process is preventing them from otherwise just getting on with their lives.

"Many trans people know they are trans a long time before they socially, medically, and legally transition, and do not make the choice to do so lightly."

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