THE reform of gender recognition policy in Scotland has moved on to the final stage of parliamentary scrutiny before becoming law.

Today, MSPs debated amendments made at Stage 2 of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill in a marathon committee meeting at the Scottish Parliament.

The bill aims to make it easier for transgender people to legally change the sex on their birth certificate and removes the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a doctor before they can legally do so.

More than 100 amendments were lodged in the bill that was first proposed to the parliament five years ago, making it one of the scrutinised bills in the history of Holyrood.

The committee meeting was briefly disrupted by a protester wearing the historic colours of the Suffragette movement before being completed this afternoon.

It will now move onto Stage 3 before facing a final vote in the Scottish Parliament.

The majority of proposed amendments made at Stage 2 were defeated by the committee.

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However, MSPs did approve an amendment from Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy which ensures that the legislation will have no impact on the Equality Act 2010, after gender-critical campaigners expressed concerns that the bill would impact women’s rights.

During the meeting Duncan-Glancy said: “It’s Scottish Labour’s view that the Equality Act is reserved, cannot be altered by devolved legislation and therefore it is our understanding that these protections will and must still apply if the Bill passes.

“This is a matter of great importance for many people concerned about the current reforms and we recognise their desire for reassurance.

“This protection allows for the operation of single-sex spaces, works as an exemption to the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex or gender reassignment but only when it’s a proportionate response to meeting a legitimate aim.”

Speaking in support of the amendment in the name of the Labour MSP, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said the bill would not impact on the Equality Act.

“However, I have had discussions with MSPs who are keen to see a provision in the Bill on the interaction with the 2010 Act,” she said.

“The amendment in name of Pam Duncan-Glancy provides, for the avoidance of doubt, that the bill does not modify the 2010 Act, so I can support this amendment if the committee chooses to agree to it.

“It covers the entirety of the 2010 Act rather than specifying sections or elements.”

The committee also passed an amendment which committed to publishing a report on the impact of the act on the placement of transgender people in prisons within three years of it coming into force.

Maggie Chapman MSP, Scottish Greens equalities and human rights spokesperson, said she was pleased that the bill was a vital step closer to delivering the reforms that trans people had been waiting so long for.

She said: “This is for those who have waited so long - too long - to be given the chance to live their lives as they choose to be recognised, but it is also for all those parliamentary colleagues who have faced down mistruths and disinformation.

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“The consultations and committee scrutiny of the bill have been subjected to reckless scaremongering, ill informed innuendo and the most dangerous mistruths designed to distract people from the real issue at stake - the right of individuals to be recognised in law as who they really are.

“It is to this parliament’s credit that such crude and frankly dog whistle attempts to undermine trans rights and democracy have failed because of the robust systems and structures that we have in place to represent all of our citizens, including some of the most marginalised.”