Hide me!

Letter to the Sun from trans activists

Below in full is the letter we wrote to the Sun in response to their front page on 12th June 2020, as well as a full list of signatories.

You can read media coverage of the letter at:

The Guardian

Pink News

Dear Victoria Newton,

We write to you in shock and dismay at the abhorrent front page of today’s Sun Newspaper (12/6/2020) in which you gave voice to JK Rowling’s abuser. Misogyny is a pervasive force and one that treats survivors and victims of sexual and domestic violence as bylines to their abusers story. We stand alongside JK Rowling in this cruel and malicious reporting, which sends a dangerous message to all survivors that their stories are only valid when corroborated by their abusers. It sends a message to all survivors of domestic and sexual violence that they will not be believed, and it is dangerous.

Though her disclosure of domestic violence came in the middle of a long post detailing her anti-trans views, this does nothing to alter our unwavering solidarity with all survivors of domestic violence including JK Rowling. We condemn your appalling and salacious front page; a violation of both dignity and privacy. Vulnerable groups should not be used to sell newspapers. As Trans people we often fall victim to the same salacious reporting and stand against all misogyny and violence against women.

We demand three things:

  • That your paper commit to following the IPSO-approved Level Up Guidelines on reporting on domestic violence
  • A retraction of the story, an apology and dedicated print and online space to advertising domestic violence services
  • That those accountable and profiting from abhorrent reporting on victims of domestic violence apologise and are held to proper account:
    • Editor Victoria Newton
    • CEO of NewsUK Rebekah Brooks
    • Proprietor Rupert Murdoch

Yours,

Shon Faye, Writer

Christine Burns MBE, Author and Retired Campaigner

Travis Alabanza, Artist

Roz Kaveney, Poet and Novellist

Juno Dawson, Author and screenwriter

Rae Spoon, Musician and writer

Kuchenga, Writer

Neil McDonald MBE, campaigner

Emma Frankland, Artist and Writer

Nim Ralph, Activist and Writer

Cara English, Head of Public Engagement, Gendered Intelligence

Maria Munir, Trans Lead, Amnesty Rainbow Network

Jo Gower, Vice Chair of Amnesty UK’s Rainbow Network

Dr Ronx, Emergency Medicine Doctor, TV Presenter

Dr Sam Martin, University of Oxford

Meg-John Barker, Writer

Jane Fae

Dr Harry Josephine Giles, Writer and Performer

Chay Brown, co-founder TransActual UK

Mia Violet, Author

Rudy Loewe, Visual Artist

Mika Minio-Paluello, Economist

Dr Ben Vincent, PhD

CN Lester

Freddy McConnell, Journalist/Writer

Dr Ruth Pearce, Trans Learning Partnership

Dr Natacha Kennedy, Goldsmiths College

Michelle O’Toole, What The Trans podcast

Andrea Di Giovanni, singer-songwriter and performer

Dr Jay Stewart, CE, Gendered Intelligence

Adi Daly-Gourdialsing, Head of Patient Services, Gender GP

Riley Coles

Juliet Jacques, Writer/Filmmaker

Fox Fisher, Author and Co-Director of My Genderation CIC

Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir (Owl), Co-Director of My Genderation CIC

Tara Hewitt, Co-Founder Trans Equality Legal Initiative

Aidan Comerford, Writer

Teddy Lamb, Playwright and Performer

Jamie Windust, Writer

Alexa Moore, Director of TransgenderNI

Ted Lavis Coward, member of Queer House Party

Rory Finn, Co-Founder Trans Can Sport

Sabah Choudrey, Trans youth worker, public speaker, writer

Liv Wynter, Artist, support worker, refuge worker

Adrianne Elson, TransPride NI

Rokayah Abdulmajed, activist and secondary school teacher

Bethany Black

Sofie Hagen

Andrea Lawlor, writer

Claire Birkenshaw, Leeds Beckett University

Dr Isabel Waidner, University of Roehampton,

Dr Bee Hughes, Acting Chair LJMU UCU, Artist, Educator & Researcher

Kate Moross, Creative Director

Sarah Savage, chair of TransPride Brighton

Wednesday Holmes, Artist and Community Organiser

Carla Ecola, Founding Director, The Outside Project and STAR Refuge

Dr Francis Ray White, University of Westminster

Dr Jennifer Fraser, University of Westminster

Dr Michael Toze, PhD

Dr Tray Yeadon-Lee, Academic

Dr Onni Gust, University of Nottingham

Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance Policy Officer

James Morton, Scottish Trans Alliance Manager

Becky Kaufmann, Scottish Trans Alliance Justice Policy Officer

Oceana Maund, Scottish Trans Alliance Community Engagement Officer

Sahaf Hardouf, Kolot HaKeshet

Scottish Trans Alliance response to today’s Sunday Times front page

Today (14th June 2020), the Sunday Times has reported that an unnamed UK Government source has leaked to them a draft of what the UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, apparently proposes to do to try to undermine trans equality.

The report claims that Liz Truss will completely ignore the 70% of respondents to the UK Government Gender Recognition Act consultation who supported removing the intrusive medical evidence requirements for correcting a trans person’s birth certificate. The Sunday Times bizarrely claims the consultation result was unfairly influenced by trans people. In actual fact, the Sunday Times and other media intensively promoted anti-trans campaigning against the reforms and trans people represent less than 1% of the population.

The report also claims that Liz Truss will try to force local councils not to provide gender neutral toilets and to restrict trans women’s ability to use women’s toilets. We know from looking at similar attempts in North Carolina and Texas that exclusion of trans people from toilets is unworkable but harmfully increases the risk of transphobic hate crime.

The report also made mention of Liz Truss apparently trying to make it more difficult for trans teenagers to access puberty delaying medication but gave no details.

For Scotland, Gender Recognition Act reform, toilet regulations and access to healthcare are under the control of the Scottish Government rather than the UK Government. We call for the Scottish Government to uphold their positive commitments to trans equality. We are appalled that the UK Government Women and Equalities Minister appears to be considering a deplorable roll-back of trans people’s safety, privacy and dignity. Across the UK and internationally, trans people, LGBT organisations, wider equalities organisations, academics, medical professionals, lawyers, service providers, businesses and thousands of individual allies will strongly resist any such roll-backs.

We note positively that the Sunday Times reports these draft proposals have not yet been approved by @10DowningStreet. We call on @BorisJohnson to leave trans people in peace and not follow in the footsteps of anti-LGBT bullies such as Trump in the USA, Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Orbán in Hungary.

Everyone can help by urging @BorisJohnson not to take forward any of these potential anti-trans proposals: https://email.number10.gov.uk/

Response to UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities’ speech on trans rights

On Wednesday 22nd April, the UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, gave a speech to the UK Parliament Women and Equalities Select Committee. In her speech (https://www.gov.uk/…/minister-for-women-and-equalities-liz-…) she made the following statement about her views on trans issues:

“The final point I’d like to make, Madam Chairman, in this initial part, is on the issue of the Gender Recognition Act. We’ve been doing a lot of work internally, making sure we’re in a position to respond to that consultation and launch what we propose to do on the future of the Gender Recognition Act. We will be in a position to do that by the summer, and there are three very important principles that I will be putting place.
First of all, the protection of single-sex spaces, which is extremely important.
Secondly making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, whilst maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.
Finally, which is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act, but is relevant, making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future. I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions. Of course some of these policies have been delayed, Chair, by the specific issues around Covid but I can assure you that alongside the Covid work, our officials continue to do those things to make them happen.”

For Scotland, Gender Recognition Act reform and access to healthcare are under the control of the Scottish Government rather than the UK Government. We are continuing to press the Scottish Government to uphold their positive commitments to trans equality. The Equality Act 2010 covering single-sex services, however, is controlled by the UK Government across England, Scotland and Wales. We recognise that the Minister’s statements, if implemented as UK Government policy, could represent a reduction of trans people’s rights thinly disguised as progress.

As a result, on Thursday 23rd April, Scottish Trans Alliance participated in a series of online meetings with other trans and LGBT equality organisations, human rights lawyers and academics, and the UK Government Equalities Office, to defend against any potential attempt by the UK Government to reduce trans people’s inclusion in single-sex services or to restrict clinicians’ ability to prescribe puberty-delaying medication to trans teenagers. The UK’s equality and human rights organisations, of which we are part, will work closely together to strongly oppose any attempts to reduce existing trans rights anywhere in the UK.

Everyone can help by signing and sharing this online petition: https://bit.ly/352DzRT

 

Brexit’s Dangerous Impact on Transgender Asylum Seekers

Elise Middleton is a content writer for the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation of UK immigration solicitors offering legal aid and support to asylum-seekers, trafficking survivors and survivors of domestic abuse

The uncertainty surrounding Brexit raises many questions about the future of the UK, namely in business, trade, employment, and immigration. If Brexit does come to pass, it will take years to sift through various legal decisions regarding which laws adopted by the UK as part of EU membership will remain, and which will be lost. Research undertaken by The UK in a Changing Europe demonstrates that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, despite the temporary workarounds promised by the EU, the UK may well be thrown into crisis with severe disruptions to air transport and road links.

These concerns prompt a great deal of media attention and public conversation, but one area that is frequently and dangerously overlooked is that of Brexit’s impact on equality policies and particularly LGBTQ+ rights. The only legally binding international human rights document that specifically protects people against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a piece of EU legislation that will likely no longer be available to UK individuals post-Brexit.

Currently, it acts as a vital safety net for British LBGTQ+ individuals, allowing them to turn to EU courts if they feel that the UK government is not doing enough to protect them from persecution. Many British nationals have depended upon both EU courts and European law in this way, with a recent case being that of British man John Walker who relied on EU law to bring an end to inequalities in private pension rights for same-sex couples. Examples of the Charter of Fundamental Rights being invoked in this way highlight its importance, and its loss will leave transgender people in particular vulnerable and without specific protections. In recent years, the UK has implemented legislation such as the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010, demonstrating significant progression in efforts to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. However, Brexit threatens a regression of these rights and many others that have been tirelessly worked for.

A large contributing factor to concerns of a regression are the statistics that demonstrate a harrowing increase in hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community – and particularly trans individuals. Recent Stonewall Scotland research on LGBT hate crime has reported that in 2017, one in five LGBTQ+ people had experienced a hate crime because of either their gender identity or sexual orientation, with that number increasing to a distressing 48% for trans people specifically.

This hostility and vitriol is similarly directed at the most vulnerable in society: transgender asylum seekers. Asylum seekers who wish to gain citizenship in the UK are already subject to the harmful repercussions of the UK government’s increasingly rigorous immigration policy, policy that undermines basic human rights. Individuals seeking asylum on the basis of persecution due to their sexuality or gender identity are then forced to prove evidence that they were under threat, in a series of gruelling interviews that does not take into account the reality that most of these people would not have been able to live publicly out in their home countries. As a result, offering some form of proof is often impossible, as it was their inability to live freely and openly that led these individuals to flee in the first place. This insensitive and unfeasible demand then leads a number of asylum seekers to feel as if they must provide explicit or intimate evidence to demonstrate the legitimacy of their claim, significantly encroaching upon their privacy.

These unreasonable demands have their roots in the government’s hostile environment policy, and unsurprisingly result in a high refusal rate for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers making their claim on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2017, a massive 1,464 out of 1,887 asylum seekers making a claim on this basis were refused, with only 423 granted asylum.

The experience of asylum seekers waiting to make their claim or hear a response to their claim is often a traumatic one, and is only exacerbated when the individual is LGBTQ+. Transgender individuals suffer specific violence and abuse in the interview process, frequently being misgendered by interviewing officers or refused the right to be in detention with fellow detainees of their self-identifying gender.

Transgender asylum seekers suffer atrocious cases of injustice and discrimination under the current system and governmental immigration policy. The combination of these current hardships and the increase in hostility forecasts a dangerous future for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, one that can only be worsened by either a no-deal Brexit or a Brexit that does not take these issues into account. In order to continue the work that has been undertaken by those advocating for the legal protection of the LGBTQ+ community, the government must establish post-Brexit human rights legislation as a matter of urgency. The lasting pieces of the hostile environment policy must be eradicated in order to ensure the safety and protection of those seeking refuge from persecution. If these measures are not taken, the UK may find itself to be a toxic and dangerous place for LGBTQ+ people, not one of progression but one that must be escaped.

Report from our Equal Recognition: Non-binary seminar

On Sunday, December 11th we held an all-day Equal Recognition: Non-binary seminar. The aim of the day was to bring together non-binary community members and activists with lawyers, academics and other professionasls with knowledge and expertise in this area to start thinking about how non-binary legal gender recognition could and should work in Scotland.

The day was split into two sections – in the morning session, we heard presentations from a range of speakers, talking about topics such as what they wanted from the new legislation, what impact non-binary legal recognition would have on existing laws, and what could be learned from international examples in arguing for non-binary recognition.

In the afternoon, there were three simultaneous workshops – two focused on academic and legal discussions, and one focused on non-binary activism.

You can read a report of the day to find out more about what was discussed: equal-recognition-non-binary-seminar-report

Scottish Trans comments on the UK Government Response to the Women and Equalities Committee Report on Transgender Equality

Today, the UK Government published their response to the Women and Equalities Committee Report on Transgender Equality. Whilst the Scottish Trans Alliance welcomes some of the content, overall we think that the response is very disappointing. The UK Government makes reference throughout to the need to collect more evidence or do increased monitoring around certain recommendations, despite the fact that the Committee’s Inquiry already collected substantial evidence, and the Committee based their recommendations on that evidence. We think that a significant part of the UK Government’s response is weak, as it does not set out concrete proposals for making the necessary changes to improve trans people’s rights and lived experiences.

Of course, many issues covered by the Inquiry concern matters which are devolved to Scotland, including the Gender Recognition Act, the spousal veto (which Scotland does not have), NHS services, hate crime, education and prisons. As a Scottish organisation, therefore, our view of the UK Government’s response is of less relevance than that of trans organisations and people in England and Wales! The Scottish Government has already made stronger commitments on a number of issues covered in the UK Government’s response – most notably to reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

Below are our comments on the UK Government’s responses to each of the recommendations made by the Women and Equalities Committee Report on Transgender Equality. We have tried to make it clear where certain areas are devolved to Scotland, and there may already be better practice, or commitment to better practice, from the Scottish Government.

Recommendations 1 & 2 (Cross Government Strategy): Good response – UK Government will report on previous trans equality action plan and publish a new plan

Recommendation 3 (Yogyakarta Principles and Resolution 2048 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe): Disappointing response. The UK Government refuses to commit to Yogyakarta principles, saying current international and domestic legislation is sufficient. UK Government claims to be at forefront of Europe on trans equality, but this is no longer the case. Many countries around Europe (Malta, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium) now have better gender recognition law than the UK.

Recommendations 4, 5, 7 & 8 (Gender Recognition Act 2004): Very weak response. The UK Government says they will review the Gender Recognition Act, but makes no commitment to reform it. The Scottish Government’s position is much stronger and more progressive, and commits to reforming the Gender Recognition Act and bringing it in line with international best practice. This would include implementing all of the changes discussed in this response – moving to a process of self-determination, lowering the age at which you can access legal gender recognition, and legally recognising non-binary people.

Recommendation 6 (Spousal consent): Very weak response – no commitment to remove spousal veto, which was never included in the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014, and therefore does not exist in Scotland.

Recommendation 9 (Data protection): Good response on investigating why there have been no prosecutions under Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act (which makes it a criminal offense to reveal someone’s trans history if they have a Gender Recognition Certificate and you have found out in an “official capacity”). Weak response on protecting trans people from outing in court proceedings. The response simply reiterates the existing training and guidance for the judiciary, despite the inquiry having heard that this wasn’t currently protecting trans people from being outed.

Recommendation 10 (Gender reassignment as a protected characteristic): Very poor response – no commitment to amend the Equality Act. The UK Government seem to have fundamentally missed the point that not all trans people will be perceived as having the protected characteristic of ‘gender reassignment’ and that is exactly why the revision was recommended.  For example a non-binary person who decided to continue to live in their assigned gender, but shared their non-binary gender identity with colleagues and experienced discrimination as a result of this, is not adequately covered by the ‘perception’ aspect of the legislation.

Recommendation 11 (EHRC Complaints): May be correct that no restriction exists in law

Recommendation 12 (Exemptions in respect of trans people): Weak – agree with the principle of the recommendation, but there is no commitment to amend the law to remove the exemptions as they apply to single-sex services. Whilst increasing numbers of single-sex services in Scotland are basing their policy on best practice and being trans inclusive, this still leaves uncertainty around the extent to which trans people have the right access to services which reflect their gender identity.

Recommendation 13 (Separate gender sport): We don’t have detailed knowledge on the way that this is dealt with in England and Wales to comment at any length. However, the UK Government response mentions improving participation within a wider LGB&T framework, and we hope that this allows for enough attention to be paid to the very specific barriers that trans people face in accessing sport, which can be rather different from cisgender LGB people.

(NHS Services): The UK Government highlights that it is not a lack of financial resources, but a lack of medical professionals with the expertise to work with trans people that is the biggest cause of long waiting lists for trans-specific healthcare. It does not suggest any practical solutions for how to address this problem. NHS Services are devolved to Scotland, and the STA will continue working with NHS Scotland to try to improve access to trans-specific healthcare.

Recommendation 14 (Professional regulation of doctors): Weak response to the clear recommendation for immediate action.

Recommendation 15 (Professional regulation of doctors): Fair response from GMC

Recommendation 16 (Treatment protocols): Fair response, particularly that the UK Government states “Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness”, but disappointing that there appear to be significant barriers to change, and no definite plan for how to move Gender Identity Clinics out of mental health trusts.

Recommendations 17-19 (Treatment protocols): Usefulness of response depends on NHS England action. These recommendations were specific to NHS England – would not have an impact on Scottish healthcare.

Recommendation 20 (The Tavistock Clinic): Usefulness of response depends on NHS England action – and once again this recommendation was specific to NHS England, and would not have an impact on Scottish healthcare.

Recommendations 21 & 22 (Hate crime legislation): Disappointing response on review of English hate crime legislation. Disappointing response on training for police – there is a much better commitment to this from the Scottish Government.

Recommendations 23, 24 & 25 (Recording names and gender identities): OK on review of gender markers; very disappointing response on gender X on passports. New Zealand and Denmark are two countries who don’t legally recognise non-binary genders, but do have gender X passports. It is also unclear why the UK Government think that an introduction of X markers on passports would have to be a legislative change or tied to non-binary legal gender recognition. The UK Passport Office could start issuing gender X passports simply by making an administrative change. It is also unclear why they would approach the International Civil Aviation Organisation about removing gender from passports, but are unwilling to accept the current option of an X.

Recommendation 26 (Prison and Probation services):  Very weak response. The proposed timeline for the working group is 3 years – considering the two deaths in custody in English prisons of trans women within the last year this is not urgent enough. Also unclear how a policy can be “treating someone as the gender they identify with” if it is continuing to house them in a different estate. The Scottish Prison Service has a much better policy on housing trans people in custody, placing them in the estate which corresponds to their gender identity.

Recommendation 27 (Media): Unclear whether Independent Press Standards Organisation and Ofcom are addressing this recommendation

Recommendation 28 (Online services): Unclear whether government action here will be effective

Recommendation 29 (Schools): Remains unclear what happens on Initial Teacher Training, and focuses on past work rather than changes for the future. Education is a devolved matter, so this recommendation does not apply to Scotland.

Recommendation 30 (Schools): Weak response – the use of “age-appropriate and sensitive manner” seems to leave too much room for interpretation – particularly when we know these are the exact types of arguments people will use for not providing trans-inclusive education. Education is a devolved matter, so this recommendation does not apply to Scotland.

Recommendations 31, 32 & 33 (Post school education): OK response – which further highlights weakness of recommendation 30 re: schools

Recommendation 34 (Social care for young people): The promised study is welcome – action is then needed

Recommendation 35 (Lack of sufficient understanding of transgender issues by professionals in the public sector): OK response – however we imagine that all of these services have equalities training that covers trans issues to an extent, and the letter may just get the response of “our staff are aware of their obligations under the Equality Act”. Monitoring of the effectiveness of the training provided is welcome, but it would seem that the inquiry and subsequent recommendation have already indicated that it is inadequate.

Scottish Trans Alliance welcomes the publication of the Women and Equalities Committee’s Transgender Equality Inquiry Report

The UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee has published its report of its Inquiry into Transgender Equality. The report recommendations are wide-ranging and we are delighted at the strength with which the report calls for many key improvements.

In particular, we are delighted the report states categorically that the Gender Recognition Act must be reformed to a self-declaration administrative process. Such reform would enable trans people to change their birth certificates without the current red-tape nightmare of submitting intrusive medical and psychiatric reports and years of personal documents to a judicial tribunal panel. We are proud that our Equal Recognition campaign work and the evidence we submitted to the inquiry (both in writing and in person) have been central in helping to secure this recommendation. We call on the Scottish Parliament to lead the way in legislating on the devolved matter of gender recognition.

We are also very pleased the report recommends reforming the Equality Act protected characteristic from the narrow term of ‘gender reassignment’ to the more inclusive term ‘gender identity’. It is vital that all transgender people receive full protection from discrimination in employment and service provision. The Equality Act is reserved legislation so this change needs to be achieved at Westminster.

The report also recommends that once a trans person has changed the gender on their birth certificate, then single sex service providers and employers should not be allowed to exclude them or discriminate. This would bring the letter of the law closer to the good practice standard developed through partnership between ourselves, Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and the Scottish LGBT Domestic Abuse project.

The report is the first time any Westminster Committee has acknowledged the importance of addressing the needs of non-binary trans people (who do not identify simply as men or as women). The recommendation that people must be allowed the option to record their gender as ‘X’ rather than ‘M’ or ‘F’ on their passport is a positive first step forward. We look forward to continuing to engage in detail with both the Scottish and UK Parliaments to increase their understanding of the need to fully legally recognise the identities of non-binary trans people

While the areas of healthcare and hate crime are fully devolved and therefore the Committee could only look at the English systems, we will none-the-less be utilising the Committee’s recommendations to aid our ongoing work improving trans healthcare and hate crime services in Scotland.

We sincerely and warmly thank the members of the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee for all their hard work on understanding so many of the diverse problems faced by trans people and carefully developing achievable recommendations to begin addressing them. We also very greatly appreciate the dozens of trans individuals living in Scotland who helped shape the details of the STA evidence we submitted and the many trans, LGBT, trade union and women’s equality organisations who coordinated with us during evidence submission.

You can read the report at: http://www.parliament.uk/…/transgender-inquiry-report-publ…/

Scottish Trans Alliance gives evidence at the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry into Trans Equality

TransInquiry

On Tuesday 13th October at 10.30AM, the Scottish Trans Alliance manager, James Morton, gave oral evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry into trans equality. The session covered a wide range of issues to do with how trans people’s equality is affected by the law, and also trans equality within employment.

You can watch a video of the evidence given on parliament tv

There was a particular focus on:

You can read a summary of the written evidence we submitted to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into trans equality, to give you a background to some of the things James was talking about, as well as our views on other issues of trans equality not covered in this evidence session.

The next session of the inquiry will be on Wednesday, October 28th, when the Committee will be asking Ministers about the evidence they have heard. That will be the final session, and afterwards they will begin writing a report about their findings.

 

Launch of a UK wide non-binary survey

Scottish Trans Alliance is today launching a UK wide survey for all non-binary people, defined as those:

“identifying as either having a gender which is in-between or beyond the two categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’, as fluctuating between ‘man’ and ‘woman’, or as having no gender, either permanently or some of the time”.

It asks questions on three main subjects: experiences of using services, views on legal gender recognition, and experiences in employment.

The survey will be used to give us a clearer picture of some of the issues being faced by non-binary people in the UK today, and to provide us with real evidence to use in our campaigning and lobbying around improving the rights of all trans people. At the moment, there is little existing literature on some of the specific issues faced by non-binary people beyond what we hear anecdotally from the community – and this is a great opportunity to change that.

If you would like to take the survey, you can do so at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/nonbinarysurvey

The survey should take around 30 minutes to complete. It will be open for 8 weeks, closing on Tuesday 15th September.

If you have any questions about the survey or would like to request it in a different format, please do get in touch with Vic Valentine by emailing vic@equality-network.org or calling the office on 0131 467 6039

Ask your MSPs to support gender X passports for people who do not identify as men or women

We’re delighted that Alison Johnstone MSP has submitted the following motion in the Scottish Parliament supporting non-gendered passports for non-binary people:

Motion S4M-12970: Alison Johnstone, Lothian, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 21/04/2015
Passports for People who do not Associate with a Particular Gender
That the Parliament recognises that the UK Parliament’s early day motion number 47 relating to the provision of passports to people who do not associate with a particular gender, accumulated 80 signatures; understands the importance to transgender people who are non-binary, and therefore do not identify as male or female, of having passports that reflect their true identity; notes that non-binary people have called on the Labour and Conservative parties to comment on this issue in their manifestos; recognises that a number of other jurisdictions, including Australia and New Zealand, provide their citizens with passports bearing a gender marker other than M or F; believes that, like other trans people, non-binary people have the right to have their gender identity recognised and should therefore be able to obtain passports that reflect the fact that they do not identify as male or female, and urges the next UK Government to consider whether an additional gender marker should be made available on British passports.

Several MSPs have already signed as supporting the motion. It’s really important to raise visibility of non-binary issues so please send a quick email to your local MSPs asking them to sign in support (you can find their contact details at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps.aspx).