The Commission's approach
The Commission sought to build upon the work it began. This included the published review of evidence on inequalities faced by trans people (Mitchell and Howarth 2009). The perspectives of trans people are included in a range of thematic research for the Commission, including a North West diversity survey, a survey of parents and a sexual orientation survey. The Commission also developed a project in the North East of England aimed at improving responses to tackling the impact of transphobic and disability hate crime.
In Scotland the Commission has strongly supported the introduction of statutory aggravations to identify and tackle crimes motivated by malice and ill will towards gay, lesbian, transgender or disabled people. The Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 was passed by the Scottish Parliament in July 2009. It means that Scotland now has the most advanced legislation for tackling transphobic crime in Europe. The Commission is now working with stakeholders to ensure that the Act is implemented effectively in Scotland particularly in criminal justice agencies.
The Commission has, in consultation with stakeholders, identified a number of amendments required to the Equality Bill, to provide better protection for trans people. In brief, these amendments include:
- A broader definition so that, for example, people living part time in their acquired gender, intersex people and children are protected from gender identity discrimination and harassment, not only people who are intending to undergo gender reassignment.
- An express prohibition on gender identity harassment in schools (gender reassignment discrimination in schools will be prohibited under the Bill’s proposals).
- Express protection against discrimination where someone is perceived to be undergoing gender reassignment or where they associate with someone who is undergoing gender reassignment.
- A tightening up of the rules which permit discrimination in certain limited specified circumstances, particularly so that the status of a Gender Recognition Certificate is clear.
The Commission is aware that the Equality Bill may not be enacted with all of the changes sought, not least because of the very tight timescales within which it is operating.
Last updated: 30 Oct 2017