Scottish Trans has said it is intervening to protect trans people’s equal participation in the next Scottish census
Attempts to overturn well-established guidance for trans people ahead of this year’s Scottish census would be misguided, an equality charity has said.
Scottish Trans, part of LGBTI human rights charity Equality Network, has warned calls to remove existing language in the nationwide survey this March could send the message that trans men and trans women “aren’t counted equally in Scotland”.
The group has been given permission to intervene in a legal case which is attempting to scrap written guidance alongside a question in the census on how an individual’s sex is registered.
The guidance is provided for those who need it alongside the question asking, “What is your sex?”, and tells trans men and trans women that they can respond with the answer that corresponds with how they live their lives, regardless of what is on their birth certificate.
The guidance was also used in 2011, and has been tested extensively over previous years, including with the wider Scottish public as well as trans people themselves.
Attempts are now being made to have the language scrapped due to objections over the fact that it does not force trans men and trans women to answer with the sex recorded on their birth certificate.
Scottish Trans has said it is intervening to protect trans people’s equal participation in the next Scottish census, with the case due to be heard by the Court of Session on 2 February.
Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans manager, said trans men and trans women deserve the same dignity and privacy as everyone else, adding that asking trans men to tick a ‘female’ box makes no sense.
They said: “Why should they be forced to reveal personal details about their history or private life, before they can take part in the census?
“This misguided case will send a message to trans men and trans women that they aren’t counted equally in Scotland.
“We believe that trans men and trans women should be counted as who they are, today, just like everyone else.”
Scottish Trans is represented by the Scottish Just Law Centre, part of the human rights legal charity JustRight Scotland.
Judges have granted Scottish Trans permission to act as third-party interveners to submit evidence to the court.
Scottish Trans believes that if this case is successful, the change to the guidance would breach trans people’s human rights to dignity and privacy.
They say trans men and trans women who have not changed the sex on their birth certificates, but who have changed their name to one that reflects their identity, will be forced under threat of criminal penalty to disclose they are trans.
Jen Ang, the charity’s director, said: “We are supporting Scottish Trans to intervene in this case as part of our work to ensure that people living in Scotland who will be affected by potential changes to the law have the chance to explain to our higher courts how that change might impact them.
“As an organisation, JustRight Scotland aims to help people participate in legal processes, where the outcome of a court decision directly affects them."