Scots should be able to alter their legal sex unlimited times throughout their lives because some people repeatedly “change their minds” about whether they are male or female, an expert has said.
Prof Sharon Cowan, an academic from the University of Edinburgh’s school of law, claimed that some transgender people had a “shifting sense” of their identity and that a proposed overhaul of gender laws should be widened to accommodate the group.
The SNP wants to allow Scots to change their legal sex by signing a declaration, and lower the period in which someone must live in their “acquired gender” from two years to three months, before a further three-month “reflection period”.
The current requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria would be scrapped, although under current plans, anyone making a false declaration would face a jail sentence of up to two years.
However, Prof Cowan, who specialises in feminist and queer legal studies, claimed that the safeguards were unnecessary and there was no reason that a person’s sex should be “locked down” for life.
“In my research, I have found a certain degree of flexibility in people’s sex/gender identifications across their life courses between being cisgender, transgender, non-binary or gender fluid,” she said, in a written submission to MSPs.