Feature by Georgia Ferda
Wales are to follow Scotland’s lead with the implementation of the Welsh Government’s LGBTQ+ Action Plan.
Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford previously stated he supports Scotland’s gender self-identifying system and would welcome the introduction of a similar system in Wales.
The plan, first introduced as an idea in 2021, would require a request to the UK Government for Wales to take control of gender recognition laws for trans and non-binary people, very similar to the system that was blocked by the UK Government in January.
The plan has been a goal at the heart of the Welsh LGBTQ+ community and comes just weeks after a well-known Cardiff drag queen was found dead in the city centre. It outlines a variety of steps from improving safety, education, housing, health and social care, to promoting community engagement and more. It also shows a clear commitment to defending and promoting the rights and dignity of trans and non-binary people.
During the First Minister’s questions at the plenary meeting earlier today, the First Minister spoke further about the plan.
He said: ”Transgender people who are going through the process to change their legal sex deserve our respect, support and understanding. That is what the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland said on the floor of the House of Commons when introducing the Government’s proposal to block the gender recognition Act in Scotland. I think the Member could do very well to take what the Secretary of State for Scotland said to heart, and think about what she has said on the floor of the Senedd this afternoon through that lens.
There is nothing in what this Government intends to do that would merit the description that the Member has offered us here this afternoon. We will pursue, as I said in my original answer, not policies developed elsewhere, but policies that we will develop here in Wales—policies which were in our manifesto, on which we were elected, policies that have been there in our programme for government since the start of this Senedd term, and policies which are set out in more detail in the LGBTQ+ action plan, with its 46 different policy proposals. Those are based on that sense of respect, support and understanding, and if this debate was more characterised by those qualities, it would be a lot better for it.”
The LGBTQ+ Action Plan, if approved by the UK Government, will come into place later this year. The Welsh Government have said they want to make Wales “the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe”, and believe we can support all LGBTQ+ people in Wales to live their fullest life: to be healthy, to be happy, and to feel safe.