Equality campaigners call for Scotland to recognise non-binary people in law
Campaigners are calling for a third gender to be recognised by the Scottish Government.
Charities, the Scottish Transgender Alliance and the Equality Network, said the move was necessary as non-binary people - those born with bodies that cannot be classified as clearly male or female - have no legal recognition of their gender.
A third gender is already recognised in countries including Australia, Denmark, Nepal and Pakistan.
It comes as transgender and intersex people from across the country helped to launch the Equal Recognition campaign in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Nathan Gale, policy officer with Scottish Transgender Alliance, said: "Scotland is falling behind a growing number of countries around the world who now recognise in law that not everyone can be neatly categorised as male or female, and instead ensure that all trans and intersex people are accepted and protected.
Scotland is falling behind a growing number of countries around the world - Nathan Gale
"It is time for Scotland to catch up, recognise our existence and respect our diverse bodies and identities."
Last year Germany became Europe’s first country to allow babies with a mixture of male and female chromosomes to be registered as neither male nor female.
Parents there are allowed to leave the gender blank on birth certificates, creating a category of “indeterminate sex”.
It comes as over 160 people from across the UK and Ireland helped to launch the Equal Recognition campaign in Edinburgh on Saturday at the largest conference the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance have ever help in Scotland.
Nathan Gale, policy officer with Scottish Transgender Alliance, said: "Scotland is falling behind a growing number of countries around the world who now recognise in law that not everyone can be neatly categorised as male or female, and instead ensure that all trans people are accepted and protected.
"It is time for Scotland to catch up, recognise our existence and respect our diverse identities."
The campaign also calls for reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to make it easier for transgender people to have the gender they live as legally recognised. The charity says that transgender people in Scotland are currently forced to undertake a humiliating psychiatric assessment simply in order to have the gender they live as reflected on their birth certificate.
Robin Duval, 29, a non-binary trans person from Edinburgh said he often feels like he leads a double life.
"My friends know I don’t feel male or female and respect that, but the stress of having to pretend to be something that I’m not, everyday, just to fit in with society has a massive impact on my health and wellbeing," he said.
"It affects every part of my life, whether I’m at work, going to the doctors, travelling through passport control, or even just going to the toilet. I just want to be accepted for who I am in the eyes of society, and have my gender recognised in the law with the same rights as anyone else.”
And Becky Kent, 52, a trans woman from Edinburgh added: “For me, recognition of my gender is simply about official acceptance of who I already know that I am. Nobody but me knows who I am inside. It is terribly insulting to have to get the permission of a psychiatrist in order to get my birth certificate changed. I’m a competent, responsible adult. I should be trusted to know who I am.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The Scottish Government is fully committed to equality for transgender and intersex people and added the 'I' to LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) earlier this year as a visible symbol of that commitment.
"We are working closely with partners such as the Scottish Transgender Alliance to further develop our understanding of intersex issues and learn from international best practice.
"The next phase of our "Scotland believes in equality" campaign will include a focus on LGBTI equality."