A COMMISSION set up to protect human rights in Scotland has insisted that plans to speed up the process for trans people to have their gender recognised will have no impact on single sex spaces.

The Scottish Government has tabled plans to streamline the process for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) including ending the need for a psychological examination and diagnoses of gender dysphoria.

The proposals, backed by all Holyrood parties except the Conservatives, would see the age limit lowered from 18 to 16 years old.

But some including the Scottish Conservatives have claimed that the legislation puts single sex spaces and women’s rights at risk, despite nobody needing a GRC to enter single sex spaces.

Now the Scottish Human Rights Commission has told MSPs that it does believe there is any evidence to suggest that single sex spaces or women’s rights are being put under threat by the plans.

The evidence has been handed over ahead of Ian Duddy, the commission’s chairman, alongside Barbara Bolton and Cathy Asante of the organisations giving evidence to MSPs today.

The committee will also hear from Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations’ independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a submission to Holyrood’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee, the commissions has stressed that trans people being able to obtain a gender recognition certificate “is a matter of human dignity, freedom and personal autonomy”.

The organisation said that the Bill is “positive”, adding that “if passed, will represent a significant step forward in removing barriers to the exercise of human rights for trans people in Scotland”.

The commission has directly addressed the claims that single sex spaces are being put at risk by making it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate.

The submission said: “In relation to concerns that the Bill will lead to the removal of single-sex services or women-only spaces, in our view, obtaining a GRC should not have any effect on these protected spaces, as the exceptions provided by the Equality Act 2010 will continue to apply.”

Pointing to the plans allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to apply for a GRC, the commissions said this move “is in line with the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991 and the approach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

It added: “We also suggested that consideration should be given to extending this to persons under the age of 16 in line with an evolving capacities approach, whilst ensuring appropriate safeguards are in place.”

In its written evidence, the commission has insisted that “legal gender recognition processes are central to the enjoyment of human rights for transgender people”.

It added: “We consider that an analysis of the human rights both of transgender people and the wider community support reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

“Careful assessment and balancing of the human rights implications demonstrates, in our view, that unnecessary barriers to legal recognition can be removed while upholding the rights of all.”

LGBT groups had previously issued a warning over the process for a GRC being revoked and the potential for family members who do not support trans rights being named an interested person.

The commission has warned that “clarity is needed around who can be deemed to have an interest in the process and the criteria that must be satisfied to allow a party to make such an application”.

The submission added: “It may be necessary to specify that applications must be made in good faith and subject to a test of reasonableness, to prevent intrusive or vexatious applications.

“Similarly, the rights of an applicant to challenge or contest an application for revocation should be clearly articulated.”