Teens as young as 15 will now be able to change gender identity as Scottish Parliament heckled with cries of 'shame on you'

21 December 2022, 09:29

Nicola Sturgeon's new law has been hotly debated
Nicola Sturgeon's new law has been hotly debated. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Children as young as 15 will be able start legally changing their gender without parental permission under Nicola Sturgeon's new laws in Scotland.

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They will be able to change it from their 16th birthday and get the process under way beforehand.

The new Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill will do away with the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria that allows a patient to receive a recognition certificate.

Applicants will also only need to live with their gender identity for three months, or six if they are aged 16 and 17, and undergo a three month reflection period.

Time spent living under their "acquired gender" when they are 15 will count towards their six months.

Read more: Scottish government accused of 'keeping quiet' on deal to house Ukrainians on ferry for a further five months

On Tuesday, protests heckled MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, with cries of "shame on you" as an amendment that would have made it hard for sex offenders to get a gender recognition certificate was rejected.

A final vote on the measures, which will allow people in Scotland to legally change their sex through a signed declaration, will go ahead on Wednesday.

Among the opponents of the plans are some rebels within the SNP. Opponents fear allowing people to change their officially recognised gender at such a young age could set them on a path to medical treatment that cannot be reversed.

A former Scottish government minister who quit over the plans, Ash Regan, warned allowing people as young as 16 to make such an important decision was inappropriate.

One of the plans' supporters, Maggie Chapman, a Green MSP, said people do not change genders on a "whim".

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