Funding to the Equality Network for Intersex Equality Project: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested


You asked for us to provide information in relation to the £45K grant awarded to Equality Network/Scottish Transgender Alliance:

1. Were any other organisations considered for the grant?

2. Was there an competitive tendering process?

3. If so, was this open or closed/invited? If closed/invited, please state all organisations/individuals asked.

4. On what evidence did the Scottish Government base its concerns about "unnecessary genital surgeries" for intersex children? Please state the source.

5. Did the Scottish Government consult with the NHS Scotland Scottish Differences in Sex Development (SDSD) (formally Scottish Genital Anomalies Network, SGAN) network about its concerns in relation to "unnecessary genital surgeries"?




The answer to your questions are as follows:

1. No other organisations were considered for the grant. – Funding was provided to the Equality Network because they were the only organisation in Scotland, to the knowledge of the Scottish Government, that had begun to look at this issue.

2. As the bid was less than £50K, it came in under the procurement threshold.

3. N/A, given the answer to question 1

4. The decision to fund the Equality Network for this work was made on the merit of the organisation’s application. They stated that such activity is recommended and the need evidenced by the United Nations, Council of Europe and EU Fundamental Rights Agency. The following information may be helpful in this regard:
 UN Factsheet:
 Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Intersex Issue Paper and Video Message:
EU Fundamental Rights Agency:


5. The Scottish Government is committed to seeking views about how we should address the issues experienced by people with variations in their sex characteristics and plans to publish a consultation for this purpose. To help inform that consultation, including the various draft impact assessments, officials have been meeting with a range of groups and individuals. The Scottish Government Equality submission to the Scotland's Census 2021 - Topic Consultation by National Records of Scotland, was submitted in 2016. At that time, the Scottish Government had become aware of concerns expressed internationally such as by the United Nations Special Rapporteur(1) and the Council of Europe(2) about the experiences of people with variations of sex characteristics, including in medical contexts and from groups representing people with variations. (Later in 2016, the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Fifth Periodic Report on the UK also raised concerns about “cases of medically unnecessary surgeries and other procedures on intersex children before they are able to provide their informed consent(3)”.) However, the Scottish Government did not consult the SDSD network or individual clinicians on that network prior to issuing the topic consultation response.

(1) At
(2) At
(3) At, paragraph 45.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top