Non-Binary Working Group minutes: March 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Non-Binary Working Group, held on 23 March 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance
  • Oceana Maund, Scottish Trans Alliance
  • Megan Snedden, Stonewall Scotland
  • Katrina Mitchell, LGBT Health and Wellbeing
  • Mhairi Crawford, LGBT Youth Scotland
  • Non-Binary Community Members
  • Dr Carolynn Gray, University of the West of Scotland
  • Dr Peter Dunne, University of Bristol
  • Dr Ben Vincent, The Open University
  • Emily Green, Equality Unit, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Catrina Steenberg, Equality Unit, Scottish Government
  • Paul Sloan, Equality Unit, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Mollie Wright, Equality Unit, Scottish Government (Secretariat)


  • Sarah Anderson, LGBT Youth Scotland
  • Eilidh Dickson, Engender

Items and actions

1. Welcome and Introductions

1.1 The Chair welcomed attendees to the inaugural meeting of the Group and invited introductions from each Group member in turn. The Chair thanked members for their attendance, noting that initiating the Group’s work had been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2.Terms of Reference, Membership, Chairing

2.1 The Group was content with the current membership and agreed to invite new members on an ad hoc basis. However, it was acknowledged that equality, diversity, and intersectionality should be taken into account when considering the overall representation within the Group, and non-binary equality more generally.

2.2 The Chair welcomed thoughts on options for chairing of the Group. No points were raised by members with regards to a permanent chair at this stage.

Action: Group members will consider and decide a suitable chair ahead of the next meeting.

2.3 The Group discussed the draft Terms of Reference (ToRs), noting that the roles, remits and responsibilities should largely be driven by the priorities identified by members, and that the scope of the Group’s remit should remain broad in order to take account of the full range of relevant issues. The Group discussed the importance of legal gender recognition to its discussions. Members understood that current Ministers would not accept a recommendation on legal gender recognition, as stated by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People in a parliamentary statement in June 2019. However, the Group noted that this issue would be intrinsic to its discussions and wider context. It was suggested revising the framing paragraph. It was agreed that members would send further comments on the ToRs to the Secretariat.

Action: The Group to provide comments on the ToRs by Friday 30 April. 

2.4 It was noted that Ministerial agreement would be sought on the Chairing, membership and ToRs prior to finalisation.

2.5 Officials agreed to send out papers for meetings two weeks beforehand. 

3. Starting Points and Current Context: Paper One

3.1 The Chair invited members for their views on the draft Context and Background Paper.

3.2 The Group raised concerns over points made in Paper One regarding legal gender recognition for non-binary people. It was suggested revising paragraph 6 to make this clearer.

Action: The Group to provide comments by Friday 30 April, with the aim of officials presenting a revised paper to the group prior to the next meeting.

3.3 The Group agreed that further information was needed on available data and research on non-binary people and suggested highlighting the lack of data and research in this area. Members also highlighted that whilst the group’s work would be focused on non-binary people, many of the issues raised and subsequent recommendations would likely be of relevance to all trans people.

3.4 The group questioned how the paper would be used. The Chair confirmed that this was intended to be  an internal framing document to provide context to the Group’s work, but would be published online, in accordance with Scottish Government’s publishing guidelines.

4. Goals, Key Priorities and Reporting

4.1 The Group agreed to quarterly meetings, with a total of four meetings, the next to take place at the end of June.

4.2 Agreed themes for the meetings were healthcare, gaps in knowledge (including data/research and the law/legal recognition), and access to services, although these could be revisited by the Group at any time. 

4.3  The Group agreed that international best practice should be considered as part of discussions.

4.4 In addition, the Group agreed that relevant Scottish Government officials and other experts should be invited to attend relevant sessions.

4.5 The Group discussed reporting structures and an action plan. It was agreed that, as well as intending to make recommendations to Scottish Ministers, short-term actions could also be pursued where identified.

4.6 The Group discussed how best to share information between meetings. The Secretariat agreed to consider options, including setting up a virtual platform for discussion.

Action: Secretariat to consider platforms for discussion and information-sharing between meetings.

5. Next Meeting and AOB

5.1 The Group agreed the requirement for anonymity in relation to the members representing the non-binary community. The Secretariat undertook to provide a Privacy Notice to the Group in relation to this.

Action: Secretariat to provide a draft Privacy Notice to the Group prior to the next meeting.

5.2 The Group agreed that their  first meeting could be publicised through SG social media channels, provided anonymity of members was upheld. The Chair encouraged retweeting by members, if they so wished.

5.3 The next meeting will take place at the end of June and officials will send out further details to the Group shortly.

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