AB – Anna Botting (SkyNews, host)
HH – Heather Herbert (Guest)
Note – I’ve tidied the text up (removing the ums and arrs, duplicate words and incorrect transcriptions) but otherwise let it as transmitted.
AB – let’s get more now on the UK government’s decision to block changes to gender recognition laws in Scotland which Nicholas sturgeon has called a full frontal attack on the Scottish Parliament the Scottish law would have simplified the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate for transgender people well I’m joined Now by Heather Herbert who is a campaigner for Trans rights very good evening to you but I guess you’re deeply disappointed by this
HH – I’m disappointed Anna yes but I’m not surprised and, to be honest, I think we’ll when this goes to when this goes to court we’ll win and it will be overturned
AB – well the Scottish Minister Aleister Jack was trying to make the point that today’s decision has nothing to do with the basics of the Scottish legislation he said “my decision today is about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections” so do you understand that that was the problem that it overstepped legislation South of the Border?
HH – I think the Scottish government was very careful in its uh in its wording and its composition of the of the bill to not to every step uh to reset things it doesn’t affect the equalities act in the slightest why not uh because it doesn’t it just um speeds up the process in which trans people can obtain um a gender of recognition certificate that process already exists
AB – Well the Scottish conservatives said that the UK government was left with little option but to make this order a section 35 order as you know um in their desperation this is their equality spokesperson Rachel Hamilton in their desperation to force this legislation through Hollywood Before Christmas the Scottish government ignored the warnings that the bill would have implications Beyond Scotland’s borders so they’re sticking to that also she makes the point that uh the Secretary of State made clear it was not a decision he wanted to make and he hoped it could be Revisited does that give you any confidence
HH – Well the process has taken over six years it’s been consulted on twice, it’s gone through, the committee it’s gone through three stages of amendments, it’s not been rushed through at all um to suggest so it’s very disingenuous to the Scottish Parliament.
AB – Well I know many people point out that it was overwhelmingly voted through by the Scottish Parliament but it has been deeply controversial in Scotland has it not? You know fraught debate inside and indeed outside Hollywood
HH – Well as you say it was voted through by an overwhelming majority of MSPs from all parties even conservatives themselves voted, through.
AB – I said it was 86 votes to 39 is that correct
HH – That’s right yeah.
AB – So what should happen now then?
HH – Well, Nicholas surgeon well Scottish government will take this to court and the Scottish government will win and it will just be another delayed for another few months.
AB – And for someone like you Heather what what difference would it practically have made to you
HH – so it will allow me to change just to change my birth certificate, it doesn’t affect access to Single Sex spaces which is one of the things that critics have said, I don’t have a gender recognition certificate myself, and I use Single Sex spaces, and I have done so since I started my transition seven years ago now, it doesn’t make any difference to that at all, all it makes a difference to is should I choose to get married or when I pass away my birth certificate is to get my certificates will all align with my gender says.
AB – How did it change the the time frame?
HH – So previously you would need, two years worth of details, which includes all your bank statements any letters, if you’d had any medical intervention although medical intervention wasn’t necessary if you’d had any medical intervention you’d need the details of that which is an additional cost to get that details from the GP, you would need all manner of admin and All this does is it brings would bring, things back into International best practice, I think there are 15 countries now where, you can just sign your name and say that you’re you’re the gender that you are, you can just self ID um and it would just bring Scotland um into line with that
AB – and just you mentioned the safe spaces and the safeguarding of women is often raised as a factor in the speed of of self-identification you know why do you think it doesn’t have any impact on um safe spaces
HH – well I’d ask you the question when was the last time you needed to show your birth certificate when you went to the toilet
AB – Never.
HH – Yeah exactly you just don’t do it nobody asks you for your birth certificate, or a gender recognition certificate or any other kind of documentation when you go to the loo, or when you go to a single sex changing rooms or to any other space like that so you’re saying you could use Single Sex toilets anyway.
AB – And this just changes a formal piece of paper that’s what you’re saying.
HH – That’s correct yes
AB – okay well we’ll see what happens next but and see how far the UK government takes it and indeed the Scottish actually. Just one final quick question do you fear this is becoming part of a political football and this rolls into the sort of devolution Independence argument
HH – The only people who are making this a football are the conservative party. It’s part of the Bute House agreement so the SNP and the green party in Scotland, have said all along that we’re going to they’re going to introduce this as I said it’s been in the works for the last six years, it’s been campaigned for by all parties it was part of the conservative Manifesto A few terms ago, the only people who are making this a football and the only people who are dragging trans people through the mud are the conservatives
AB – Well Heather Herbert very good to have your thoughts there joining us live from Aberdeenshire thank you very much indeed thank you
HH – thank you