Nicola Sturgeon plans to let 16-year-olds legally change gender

Nicola Sturgeon plans to let 16-year-olds legally change gender

The Scottish Government has said it intends to bring forward the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill within the next year. 

Nicola Sturgeon's plan to allow people to change their gender at the age of 16 could open the floodgates to teenagers requesting irreversible gender reassignment surgery.

The draft law would introduce a new and easier system for obtaining legal gender recognition in Scotland and could reduce the age at which someone can apply for a gender recognition certificate from 18 to 16. 

Statistics obtained by the For Women Scotland campaign group showed there were at least 51 cases over a six year period where "trans males" under the age of 18 had been approved for double mastectomies.

Those people were referred to NHS hospitals in England for assessment on 'specialist chest reconstruction'.  

The campaign group has expressed concerns that lowering the age limit for certificates to 16 could result in more young people requesting surgery which they could later regret.       

Trina Budge, director of For Women Scotland, told The Telegraph that England and other countries were 'sensibly rolling back on invasive and non-reversible treatments' for young trans people. 

She said it was 'shocking' to see Scotland 'heading in the opposite direction'. 

'No physically healthy child should ever be locked into a pathway of puberty blocking drugs and wrong-sex hormones, leading to the removal of breasts at the age of 16, she said. 

'Lowering the age at which gender can be changed to 16 will inevitably open the floodgates for many more teenagers to request elective surgeries to match their new legal status.'