Gender Recognition Reform Protest: Rally planned in Edinburgh after UK Government move to block the Scottish GGR Bill

A protest has been planned in Edinburgh after the UK Government move to block the Scottish GGR Bill.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said on Monday the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would be blocked using – for the first time – section 35 of the Scotland Act.

A rally has now been planned in the Capital in protest, with the Scottish Trans Alliance tweeting that protesters will be meeting at 1.30 pm outside Queen Elizabeth House, a short walk from Edinburgh Waverly station.

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They wrote: "If you can make it to Edinburgh this Thursday, please come along to this rally against the blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill by the UK Government.”

Gender Recognition Reform Protest: Rally planned in Edinburgh after UK Government move to block the Scottish GGR Bill

The UK Goverment’s decision has sparked concern over its impact on devolution and further intensified the debate on trans rights that raged for most of last year in the Scottish Parliament. The Bill was passed in December by 86 votes to 39, with cross party support.

On Tuesday, Alister Jack insisted that the use of a section 35 order will not become “commonplace” as he stressed the move to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill was “not about preventing” Holyrood legislating on devolved matters.

But Nicola Sturgeon has questioned the motivation for the decision, saying: “There’s not an iota of good faith on the part of the UK Government on this issue, I’m very, very certain there’s no good faith here.

“If there had been these concerns, and I still don’t understand the basis for these concerns about the interaction with the Equality Act, [they] would have been raised at a much, much earlier stage through some of the formal processes that are in existence.”

Colin Macfarlane, director of nations at the charity Stonewall, which campaigns on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said such action would be “yet another example of hampering progress on LGBTQ+ rights”. He said it would also undermine a commitment given by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “govern with compassion”.