Spain & Scotland pass landmark gender recognition bills

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Trans people in Scotland will face fewer barriers to legal recognition after the Scottish Parliament voted through its Gender Recognition Reform bill. The bill, which passed 86-39, will reform the Gender Recognition Act for Scottish trans people, allowing them to gain legal recognition easier than before.

When the new law is enacted, trans people in Scotland will be able to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate through a system of self-declaration, and will not have to submit any medical evidence or proof they have lived as their true gender. The reforms will also drop the lower age limit for legal recognition to 16. Stonewall director of nations Colin MacFarlane called the bill’s passing “a tremendous step forward for trans rights and for LGBTQ+ people in Scotland”.

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Spain has also approved a gender recognition bill which will make it easier for trans people to update their legal gender marker. Approved by 188 votes to 150 with seven abstentions on Thursday (22 December), the bill will now move to the Senate, where, if unchanged as expected, it will become law within weeks.

The draft bill allows trans people in Spain over the age of 16 to update their gender maker and name on official documents based on a simple request.

It allows anyone from the age of 16 to apply, with those as young as 12 being able to do so under certain conditions. The demand must be confirmed by the applicant three months after they submitted the request, for the change to become valid.

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What No BS journalism looks like

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As we are all painfully aware, mainstream media has no idea how to cover trans issues. The New York Times publishes “both sides” bullshit while The Guardian commissions frankly unhinged personal essays about how difficult it is for cis people whose partners have come out as trans, the media has proved to be woefully unequipped to meet this current moment, if not actively invested in further disenfranchising trans people.

Never thought we’d be saying this in the year 2022 A.D., but somehow, Jon Stewart has come to the rescue. Season two of the comedian’s show, The Problem with Jon Stewart, premiered on Apple TV+ last Friday, and it started off with a bang.

For starters, the episode is titled “The War Over Gender.” And although many mainstream outlets have indeed framed the current all-out attack on trans healthcare as a conflict with two equally equipped sides, Stewart, somehow, has become the highest profile cis person demonstrating how right-wing disinformation actually needs to be tackled by the media.

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Bridget is trans!

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Gaming still has a lot of baggage when it comes to femininity. The medium that largely focused on an audience of straight white men for its early decades has become one of the most diverse forms of media in the world. Such progress has different ethnicities, sexualities, and genders welcomed into the fold as the toxic echo chamber becomes more tolerable.

Things are changing, and we’re forced to confront long-standing issues before we can justify moving forward. Rampant sexualisation, thinly-veiled racism, and fear that supporting more inclusive audiences will see games reduced to political objects are all things we’re still grappling with. Progress is being made, but slowly, and not without forces holding us back. I don’t think this will change, at least not for a long time, but the steps being taken by games like Guilty Gear Strive give me hope for the future. More specifically, characters like Bridget.

Guilty Gear Strive confirmed earlier this week that series veteran Bridget is transgender. This had been part of a complex headcanon for years, but the continued use of masculine pronouns and the narrative’s unwillingness to explore this aspect of her character meant nothing was ever satisfactorily confirmed in the canon. Raised in an English village, Bridget was brought up as a girl due to a local superstition that twins born of the same gender were bad luck, but has remained in ‘girl mode’ well into adulthood.

Read on: Bridget’s Trans Identity In Guilty Gear Finally Leaves Behind The Character’s Harmful ‘Trap’ Origins

Why US schools are at the centre of trans rights

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In recent years, state legislatures in the US have introduced hundreds of bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ Americans. Many of those laws are focused in particular on the rights of transgender school children in public schools: what types of bathrooms they can use, whether their pronouns will be used, and whether they can participate in school sports. These laws are increasingly common in Republican-controlled states. Also, they may be violations of federal law.

This puts public schools in these states in a strange position: do they follow state laws that, under the Biden administration, could open them up to a federal civil rights investigation? Or do they ignore state law, and risk the state cutting their funding? Amid all that uncertainty, those who suffer most are the trans children caught up in the fight.

This video focuses on how that battle is playing out in Tennessee, the state that has introduced more anti-LGBTQ laws in 2022 than almost any other state. We looked at two of the laws that target transgender public school kids: one about bathrooms and one about participation in school sports. Those two issues have very different legal contexts, which you can read more about in the links below.

Britons actually not bitterly polarised over trans equality

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The British public are not bitterly polarised over trans equality, according to new research, which found a majority agreed schools should talk to pupils about transgender issues and that one in four knows a trans person personally.

Thought to be the most in-depth UK study to date of public attitudes to what has become a notoriously toxic discourse in politics and on social media, the report from More in Common identifies a radically different attitude among ordinary people, who approach issues of gender identity from a position of compassion and fairness, often informed by their own relationships with trans people.

More than 5,000 people surveyed for the thinktank did not see trans issues as a big divide in Britain today, with rows about JK Rowling or the Keira Bell case barely mentioned in focus group discussions held across Scotland, England and Wales.

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Anti-LGBTQ+ attacks by US extremist groups surge

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In Idaho, police recently found 31 members of a white supremacist group packed into the back of a U-Haul truck, apparently on their way to an LGBTQ+ pride event in the town of Coeur d’Alene.

Further west, a crew of Proud Boys interrupted a drag queen event in California, intimidating parents and children and screaming transphobic and homophobic insults. In Texas, a state plagued by anti-trans politics, a group of rightwingers screamed abuse and threatened attendees at an adults-only drag brunch.

The incidents, which led to multiple arrests, took place over just one weekend. It was a concentration of anti-LGBTQ+ hate in America that came as a shock to some – but not to the advocates and groups who have been warning of an alarming rise in anti-trans and gay speech over the past year, especially from the far right.

It’s an increase, they warn, that has been spurred by Republican politicians and rightwing media, who have pushed anti-LGBTQ+ talking points and legislation that has seen the rights and safety of an already marginalized group threatened.

“While there is always a fringe, extremist element that opposes LGBTQ equality, there has been an enormous increase in misinformation and lies about LGBTQ people entering mainstream discourse,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of Glaad, one of America’s largest LGBTQ+ rights organizations.

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