The Scottish government has proposed legislation that could result in up to seven years of imprisonment for parents who do not support their children’s decisions to transition to a different gender.
The proposal, which is currently under public consultation, aims to abolish conversion practices related to both sexual orientation and gender identity. This includes penalizing parents who do not facilitate their children’s gender identity expressions, such as wearing clothes traditionally associated with the opposite gender.
The consultation put forward by Equalities Minister Emma Roddick seeks to make it a criminal offense for parents to engage in “coercive” actions aimed at altering or suppressing their child’s gender identity, Remix reports.
The proposed plans define “coercive” behavior in a wide-ranging manner, encompassing actions that are “violent, threatening, or intimidating” towards the individual, as well as exerting control over the individual’s daily activities or pressuring them to behave in a specific manner.
The document specifies that the behavior must be ongoing, but clarifies that it only needs to occur “on at least two occasions” to fulfill this requirement. Harm is broadly categorized as either “physical or psychological,” with the latter needing to result in the child experiencing “fear, alarm, and distress.”
The proposed law does offer a defense clause, allowing parents to argue that their actions were objectively reasonable under the circumstances.
For Women Scotland, an organization dedicated to defending women’s and children’s rights in Scotland, has raised concerns about the implications of this draft legislation.
“We have grave concerns that these plans will criminalize loving parents, who could face years in jail simply for refusing to sign up to the gender ideology cult,” spokesperson Marion Calder said.
“They will also hand activists and social workers unprecedented powers to meddle in family life, while having a chilling impact on therapists and counselors.”
“If the SNP and Greens insist on pushing this through, it is likely to go the same way as the toxic self-ID and named person laws and be blocked in the courts,” she added.
The Scottish National Party (SNP), known for its left-wing stance, has faced criticism for advancing various contentious progressive policies regarding transgender matters. Notably, last year, they faced criticism by eliminating the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria for those seeking to legally change their gender through a gender recognition certificate.
Additionally, these reforms reduced the duration an individual is required to live in their chosen gender from two years to just three months before they can legally change it. The reforms also lowered the age threshold for applying for a gender recognition certificate from 18 to 16 years.