First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she stands “full square” behind transgender people, as she said the Government will look to update the protocol for gender reassignment.
During First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon expressed her support for the trans community, adding “all of us have a duty to stand up for equality, however difficult that may be on occasion”.
Ms Sturgeon admitted work is needed on the waiting times for appointments at Scotland’s four gender identity clinics, with patients currently facing a possible two-and-a-half-year wait to be seen.
Following a question from Green MSP Gillian Mackay, Ms Sturgeon said: “I absolutely stand here full square behind trans people in the discrimination and stigma and prejudice that they face and in the ongoing battle for equality for which they have as much of an entitlement as anyone else in our society.
“There are many things we’ve got to do, not least reducing waiting times for gender identity services… but I think all of us need to realise that progress in our society is rarely all one way.
“We always have to protect and continue to win and re-win the progress we have made.”
Ms Sturgeon went on to say it is up to the people of Scotland to “make sure that our progress as a country continues to be in the forward direction and that Scotland is a place where everybody feels valued and respected and able to be who they are”.
She added: “That’s the country I want to not just lead, but the country I want to live in as a citizen, and I think we’ve all got work to do to make sure it is reality and not just rhetoric.”
Ms Mackay said: “Trans people are our friends, colleagues and family and they deserve to be able to express their identity in peace.”
On what the Scottish Government plans to do to improve gender identity care in Scotland, the First Minister told MSPs: “We’re working with NHS Scotland to improve gender identity services, including reducing waiting times – which I think everybody recognises are far too long – and that causes additional trauma and anxiety.
“We will shortly be writing to the national gender identity clinical network for Scotland to ask them to review and update the gender reassignment protocol.”
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