United Kingdom Thrown Into Turmoil Over Historic Trans Rights Legislation

The flag of England, Scotland, and the Trans flag clipped together.


On Jan. 17, the United Kingdom was sent into turmoil by the English government’s first-in-history response to Scotland’s new Gender Recognition Act–a landmark in United Kingdom trans rights. The Act would allow all people in the United Kingdom to self-determine their legal gender without any medical or bureaucratic intervention. However, in a move against the trans community, the British government blocked this bill.

An obscure part of the Scotland Act allows the British to block Scottish laws without a vote–an ability the English have not invoked since the formation of the Scottish parliament.

(The British House of Commons, Encyclopedia Britannica)

The transphobic political climate has led to the U.K. invoking powers that the United Kingdom’s founding implied would not be used, which threatens the already-impeded sovereignty of non-British U.K. territories. Several Scottish politicians, including a Scottish Member of Parliament, have acknowledged that if Britain is allowed this power now, they could be allowed it with any law, effectively denying Scotland any given law at any time regardless of the Scottish vote. This has created a large degree of unrest amongst the Scottish public, and has been an incredibly potent event for the Scottish National Party. 

The U.S. and U.K. have adopted increasingly regressive policies. The Supreme Court’s Clarence Thomas has tried to roll back the same-sex marriage ruling and several states have introduced discriminatory anti-trans laws that border on apartheid laws. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has seen incredible moments of progress, like same-sex marriage being legalized in Mexico, Slovenia and Cuba in 2022. 

The rise of the “Gender Critical” hate movement in recent years has set trans rights globally back by decades. There has been a rise in unmitigated transphobia, caused largely by far-right hate figures like Matt Walsh, J.K. Rowling and Chaya “LibsOfTikTok” Raychik gaining increased popularity, as well as journalistic outlets publishing headlines calling trans rights “Queer ISIS” or “the transgender question”, mirroring the “Jewish question” the Nazis touted. 

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

This has led to an increasing tide of transphobia in the U.S. and the U.K., with a global “hate wave” primarily targeted at the LGBTQ+ community. An increase in bomb threats against LGBTQ+ teachers, teenagers and public figures, as well as the doxxing of drag queens and trans streamers has paired with a sharp increase in hate crime fatalities, including the recent shooting at Club Q. An anonymous trans study expressed how disheartening this transphobia is to witness.

“It just is like, this constant stream of misery blasted at our eyes nonstop,” they said. “The suicide rate among trans teens is so high because these genocide-addled TERF goons want us gone, plain and simple.”

This UK ruling represents one more move in a long string of attempts from the genocidal “gender critical” movement to keep trans and gender nonconforming people from existing in the public eye. This has caused a great deal of anxiety for trans people in the U.S. and U.K. This includes trans students at DVC, many of whom mirror popular worries among trans people in the U.K. Connor Vautrin, a transgender student at DVC, shared his perspective on the sensitive topic.

“It’s just upsetting to see that trans people cannot express joy within their identity in mundane spaces without someone having an objection, the immediate assumption that a trans person expressing joy is pushing a message,” said Vautrin. 


Another trans senior, who wished to remain anonymous, elaborated, “Anti- trans legislation feels like history repeating itself like it always has, legislation deciding to pursue bigotry in the name of ‘protecting the children’ when all they do is increase the already high trans suicide rate sucks,” they said.

As the political climate gets harsher for trans people, the easiest way to support trans people in the U.S. and U.K. remains monetary. There are thousands of GoFundMe’s supporting various facets of gender-affirming care or in several cases, leaving the U.K. or U.S. entirely. Supporting trans people in this increasingly anti-trans country remains as paramount as it has ever been.