TRANSGENDER people who have obtained their gender recognition certificate through "self-ID" overseas may no longer have their affirmed gender automatically accepted in the UK. 

In a written statement, Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities said she was toughening the rules to make sure only transgender people from those countries with a process that was as "rigorous" as the current system in place for the whole of the UK would be recognised.

Read more: Adam Tomkins: One way or the other, gender recognition will end up in court

While this will only apply to countries or territories outside of the UK, it follows last month's vote in Holyrood when MSPs passed the Gender Recognition Reform Bill last month.

One of the biggest changes in the new Scottish law is that it removes the need for a trans person seeking a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to first obtain a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

Within hours of the legislation passing through Holyrood on December 22, Scottish secretary, Alister Jack, said he could invoke section 35 of the Scotland Act, which allows him to prevent the Presiding Office from submitting the legislation for Royal Assent. 

The UK Government is reportedly worried that the new law could lead to a rise in so-called “gender tourism” with people travelling north of the border to obtain a GRC rather than face the stricter process in the rest of the UK.

GRCs will be available to anyone born in Scotland and anyone who makes themselves “ordinarily resident” in Scotland.

Currently, the UK Government has a list of countries where if a person has had their gender previously recognised, they do not then need to provide medical reports when applying for gender recognition in the UK.

Eight of the 41 countries on that list have a de-medicalised ‘self-ID’ system, similar to the one backed by MSPs.  

In her statement, Ms Badenoch said she would be updating the list to "make sure it does not compromise the integrity of the Gender Recognition Act."

She added: "There are now some countries and territories on the list who have made changes to their systems since then and would not now be considered to have equivalently rigorous systems.

"It should not be possible for a person who would not satisfy the criteria to obtain UK legal gender recognition to use the overseas recognition route to obtain a UK Gender Recognition Certificate.

"This would damage the integrity and credibility of the process of the Gender Recognition Act."

Over the weekend, it was reported that Mr Jack had received initial advice from Victoria Prentis, the attorney-general, and from Lord Stewart of Dirleton, advocate-general for Scotland, that the Gender Recognition Reform Billl could be challenged.

Read more: Theresa May intervenes over Rishi Sunak's threat to block gender law

Stonewall has urged the UK government not to interfere.

Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive, and Colin Macfarlane, Director of Nations at the LGBT group said blocking the legislation would be “disastrous” for trans people. 

In a statement, the two said: “The Scottish Government had an overwhelming mandate to reform the Gender Recognition Act. The reforms are one of the most consulted on in the Scottish Parliament’s history, and the new law was passed by a resounding cross-party majority, with support from MSPs in all parties.”

They added: “The UK Government has had more than six years to engage constructively with the Scottish Government over the proposals. For the UK Government to seek to block implementation of this Act would be disastrous for trans people, who deserve far better from their government.

“It would also profoundly undermine relationships with the Scottish Govt and damage the UK’s international reputation as a rights respecting nation.

Read more: UK Government to investigate blocking gender recognition reforms

“It will be yet another example of hampering progress on LGBTQ+ rights & undermine the PM’s pledge to govern with compassion.

“The UK Government already recognises equivalent birth certificates from all EU/EEA countries, including countries which have a de-medicalised model of legal gender recognition.

“To refuse to recognise Scottish certificates would be a mistake, fly in the face of international best practice and come across as spiteful."

Last week, Sex Matters, a campaign group made up of lawyers, academics and campaigners, urged the UK government to refer the legislation to the Supreme Court on "constitutional and human-rights grounds."

They also urged Mr Jack to use the Section 35 order "to ensure that all adverse effects are addressed."

They warned that the new law could allow a marriage to be annulled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland at the request of either party, which could remove paternity rights. 

They also said it would cause pensions, tax and benefit record "chaos."