Gender Reform Act Consultation and non-binary people legal recognition: FOI release

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

Information requested

You asked "why the consideration of the legal recognition of Non-Binary people has been excluded from the Gender Reform Act Consultation. I would request a more detailed statement than the current one given, that this issue has been excluded in order to “set up a working group on Non-Binary people”. This issue is extremely important to many people in Scotland, and indeed the wider world, and I maintain that this important topic deserves a more detailed explanation as to it’s exclusion."


The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is about being legally recognised as male or as female. The Scottish Government is not planning to change that under current reforms.

In the Scottish Government’s view, there are a number of significant matters that would need to be further explored before legal recognition of non-binary people could be considered.

These include changes to other Scottish legislation e.g. some family law legislation continues to make distinctions between male and female. Changes may also be required to the Equality Act 2010 to make provision on discrimination against non-binary people, and this Act is largely reserved to Westminster.

Other issues which would need to be addressed include potential changes to provision of services where services can be delivered on a single sex basis (as consideration would need to be given as to whether services for non-binary people would be required); potential changes to registration practices; and changes to the collection of data more generally so that non-binary could be recorded as an option where statistics are disaggregated between male and female. There would also be potential costs to the private, public and voluntary sectors in areas such as service provision.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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