Until the age of 18, you are restricted. You can't vote, you can't buy a lottery ticket, you can't get a piercing or tattoo without consent from your parents and you definitely can't book a hotel room. However, what the Scottish Parliament believes you can do is change your legally recognized gender.
Following the vote on the Gender Recognition Bill, Nicola Sturgeon along with Scottish Parliament approved a bill designed to make it easier for individuals to change their legally recognized gender. The bill's primary goal is to simplify and speed up the existing process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) which is currently required for legal gender change.
The bill proposes a significant change by lowering the age of application for a GRC from 18 to 16. Additionally, it removes the requirement of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria meaning that obtaining a GRC would be less restrictive for young people, allowing them to apply for it at a younger age and without the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
The bill received support from trans campaigners and was passed by the Scottish parliament with 86 votes to 39 in December. However, thankfully the UK government used the Section 35 order to stop the bill from becoming law, arguing that the bill conflicted with GB-wide equality laws and would have an "adverse impact" on Great Britain-wide equalities legislation. It was the first time the power has been used.
How the Scottish Parliament believe this bill is beneficial is mind-boggling. Decision making in general is a complex process for all, involving cognitive and neural processes, including attention, memory, emotional regulation and impulse control. Does a 16-year-old really have this?
It is widely known that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) responsible for functions like vital to decision making develops through adolescence and into young adulthood (mid-20-s), hence we have basic laws to protect the undeveloped. We can see this through functional magnetic resonance imaging studies (fMRI) which show an adolescents brain being undeveloped when compared to those of adults resulting in... you guessed it, less effective impulse control, worse decision-making ability and being more susceptible to peer pressure, which in this case relates to children making the decision to re-assign their gender without having the best mental autonomy.
The UK has made the correct decision and governments really need to stop confusing children, there are many more important things to focus on in the world.