Scottish trans equality organisation the Scottish Trans Alliance, together with its parent LGBTI charity the Equality Network, welcome the Scottish Parliament report on the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, published today (Thursday 7th Feb).
The report is the “stage 1 report”, from the Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, about the general principles of the bill. It follows written and oral evidence-taking by the Committee over several weeks.
The Census (Amendment) Bill allows for voluntary questions about a person’s sexual orientation, and on whether they are transgender, to be included in the 2021 Scottish Census. The Committee’s report supports these proposals.
The Committee also reports that there was insufficient consultation on the detail of the bill, and they support amendments to the bill proposed by the Equality Network / Scottish Trans Alliance, to clarify the language. The Committee strongly recommends wide consultation over the next year on the detailed wording of the census questions on sex, sexual orientation and trans status, including with women’s organisations, LGBT organisations and intersex organistions, and the Scottish Trans Alliance agrees with this.
Vic Valentine, Policy Officer at the Scottish Trans Alliance, said “We welcome that the Committee supports the general principles of the bill, that there should be voluntary questions on sexual orientation and on a person’s trans status, in the 2021 Census. We also welcome the Committee’s support for our proposal to amend the bill’s language on trans status, to remove confusion. We agree that there needs to be wide consultation during the preparation of the Census questions, over the next year, and that that should include consultation with women’s organisations, and with intersex organisations, as well as LGBT organisations.
“However we disagree with the Committee’s recommendation that the compulsory census question asking the person’s sex should be restricted to male and female answers only, because that means that, once again, non-binary people like myself will not be able to answer the question correctly and honestly.”
The general principles of the Census (Amendment) Bill are due to be debated by the whole Parliament on Thursday 28th February.