Non-binary equality action plan: equality impact assessment

Equality impact assessment (EQIA) for the non-binary equality action plan.

Executive Summary

In line with legal duties when proposing a new or revised policy the Scottish Government undertook this Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) as part of the process to develop the Non-Binary Equality Action Plan (the ‘plan’). The aim of this EQIA is to assess any impacts of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs relevant to the Scottish Government’s duty to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). It considers the impact of this policy proposal on people with one or more of the protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010. In line with good practice this EQIA will be kept under review.

An EQIA aims to consider how a policy may impact on different sectors of the population in different ways. Equality legislation covers the Protected Characteristics (PCs) of: age, disability, gender reassignment, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation.

The aim of the Non-Binary Equality Action Plan is to improve non-binary equality and wellbeing in Scotland. Throughout the plan and this EQIA the term non-binary person is used to define someone who identifies as “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”. This definition was developed through engagement with people who have lived experience of identifying as non-binary.[1]

We use the term ‘trans’ or ‘transgender’ to mean someone whose gender identity does not fully correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Many non-binary people consider themselves to be part of the wider trans community and this definition aligns to that used by LGBTQI+ equality organisations. However, we know that not all non-binary people consider themselves to be trans. As many of the issues that are faced by non-binary people in the plan are also faced by trans people who are not non-binary, we have used ‘trans and non-binary people’, where relevant.

The plan was committed to following receipt of the recommendations of the Working Group on Non‑Binary Equality, as set out in the Programme for Government 2021-2022 and the Bute House Agreement. The recent 2023-2024 Programme for Government has committed us to publishing the Action Plan.

This five year plan for 2023-2028 sets out the actions to deliver the accepted and partially accepted recommendations made by the Working Group on Non-Binary Equality so we can improve the lives of non-binary people and the wider trans community in Scotland.

The plan is ambitious and far reaching with six key themes which cover all aspects of non-binary people’s lives which are:

  • Participation in Decision-Making
  • Health Care
  • Legislation, Guidance and Access to Services
  • Data and Research
  • Children and Young People
  • Sport

The EQIA considers impacts on equalities groups based on the three tests it is required to address:

  • Does this policy eliminate discrimination for each of the nine Protected Characteristics? If not is the discrimination justifiable? Can it be mitigated?
  • Does this policy advance equality of opportunity for Protected Characteristic groups?
  • Does this policy foster good community relations between people of Protected Characteristic groups?



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