Non-Binary Working Group - Government Support Services Sub-Group minutes: 16 December 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the sub-group on 16 December 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Louise Thompson, Homelessness Unit, Scottish Government
  • Olivia Sharkey, Homelessness Unit, Scottish Government
  • Julie Stewart, Homelessness Unit, Scottish Government
  • Andrew McNamee, Reserved Benefits Unit, Scottish Government

Group members

  • Dr Ben Vincent, The Open University
  • Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans
  • Megan Snedden, Stonewall Scotland
  • Katrina Mitchell, LGBT Health & Wellbeing
  • Dr Carolynn Gray, The University of the West of Scotland
  • Dr Peter Dunne, The University of Bristol


  • Keir McDonald - Equality and Inclusion Division, Scottish Government


  • Oceana Maund, Scottish Trans

Items and actions

Key discussion points

The group discussed:

Homelessness Policy

  • the “duty” of Local Authorities to investigate instances where individuals had made themselves homeless had been revised to a “power”
  • "intentionality” and local connection were important for non-binary people and training on these issues was suggested for local authorities
  • limited data on the impact of homelessness on LGBT communities. Collection of more data, particularly on non-binary people, was necessary
  • the need for an intersectional approach
  • equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) on existing policies to ensure that they were suitable, including the possibility of amending policies, if evidence supported it

Reserved Benefits Policy

  • importance of benefits as they often impacted the most marginalised
  • the officials present focused on reserved benefits policy and devolved benefits sit with Social Security Scotland. Social Security Scotland is best placed to advise
  • issues faced by non-binary people using the benefits system, including their view that it was particularly gendered and they did not want this to be replicated in Scotland
  • a third gender variable would not be the solution – instead, removing gender variables which were not essential to delivering the service may be preferable

Action: homelessness officials to share details of LGBTI Equality Team with Change Group leads to explore these issues

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