Gender self-identification plans pass first stage in Scottish parliament

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MSPs have given their support to the Scottish government's plans to make changing legal gender quicker and easier.

At the stage 1 vote on Thursday, MSPs voted by 88 to 33 in favour of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

It follows recommendations earlier this month by the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee that the Scottish Parliament back the principles of the Bill.

The Bill proposes removing the requirement of a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria and other medical evidence.

It will lower the age at which a person can begin the process of changing legal gender from 18 to 16 and reduce the time that a transgender person must live in their preferred gender before they can apply for a gender recognition certificate.

The Bill was passed in principle despite the resignation of Edinburgh East MSP, Ash Regan, in protest and nine SNP MSPs defying the party whip.

The Christian Institute has condemned the proposals and warned that they leave "the door wide open to false declarations".

"It's a madcap plan by any measure," said spokesperson Simon Calvert earlier this month.

"The Scottish Government's Bill would allow for trans tourism, where non-Scots could live in Scotland for three months and get a new birth certificate.

"A university student could apply after just one term. It also applies to Scots living elsewhere.

"So a 16-year-old Scot living in Doncaster could get a birth certificate saying he was born a girl and try to use it to force his English school to allow him to use the girls' facilities."