Trans people first received protection from discrimination in 1999.

These protections recognised that trans women and trans men had the right to live and interact in the world as the women and men that they know themselves to be.

This did not require that trans people had undergone hormonal or surgical treatments.

The current law around trans people’s use of services, the Equality Act 2010, further builds on these principles.

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The definition used of who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment does not require them to have undergone any medical treatments, or to be under medical supervision. 

Making changes to social aspects of their sex is enough for them to be protected by the law – changes such as updating their identity documents, choosing a new name, or introducing themselves to others as a man or a woman.

The law and its protections are broad, and rightly cover trans people in the early stages of living in their gender identity. 

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Anyone using women’s spaces to harass or intimidate others – whether such a person is trans or not – would be behaving unlawfully, and they can and should be dealt with robustly.

Services should have a public code of conduct making clear that they have zero tolerance for any such behaviour, so that all users can feel safe. 

Many services would be improved for all of their users, including their trans users, if they improved privacy.

In this day and age, leisure centres ought to ensure changing cubicles are provided. But it would be entirely inappropriate for services to quiz individuals about their genitals or hormones. 

It would also be inappropriate to require service users to conform to strict gender stereotypes of feminine or masculine appearance. What ought to matter is how service users behave towards each other. 

Single-sex services generally treating trans men and women in the gender they live as, regardless of whether they have undergone medical treatments, is the long established status quo in practice and the law.

That people may be surprised that this has long been the case in Scotland demonstrates that it has been working well.

 - Vic Valentine is Policy Officer at Scottish Trans