- 7 Jul 2021
The Scottish Government recognises the need to do more to achieve equality for non-binary people. To look carefully at these issues, we have established a Working Group on Non-Binary Equality, in line with commitments made in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Programmes for Government.
This Working Group on Non-Binary Equality (‘the Group’) has been convened to consider and inform the Scottish Government’s approach to these issues. The Group, which will consist of people with lived experience, academics, and other expert advisers, alongside Scottish Government officials, will work to contribute to the Scottish Government’s emerging approach, and advise on proposed actions to improve, protect and promote equality for non-binary people.
The scope of the Group’s work will be defined by its members, with no initial limits on considerations of policy, legislative or operational matters. However, the Group understands that, in a June 2019 parliamentary statement on gender recognition reform, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People said that the Scottish Government ‘does not intend at this time to extend legal gender recognition to non-binary people’. The Group further understands that decisions on whether to action Group recommendations will lie with Scottish Ministers.
The Group’s initial output is expected to take the form of a suite of recommendations to Scottish Ministers, delivered within one year of the Group’s inaugural meeting.
The Group will be initially convened for one year to formulate recommendations, following which a further meeting will take place to establish how the Group might continue or evolve in order to further support progress on non-binary equality.
Role and remit of the group
The group will have four main functions:
- Identify areas where non-binary people face discrimination or inequality in the law, policy or practice, including in relation to data and evidence;
- Discuss with relevant experts and stakeholders potential solutions to identified areas of discrimination or inequality to improve non-binary people’s lives in Scotland;
- Develop a consensus on recommendations to make to relevant Scottish Ministers on changes required to law, policy or practice;
- Progress work within an equalities framework, which also recognises the relevance of intersecting experiences of marginalisation.
The Group will be made up of relevant academics and other experts, including:
- Oceana Maund, Scottish Trans Alliance
- Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Alliance
- Sarah Anderson, LGBT Youth Scotland
- Megan Snedden, Stonewall Scotland
- Katrina Mitchell, LGBT Health and Wellbeing
- Eilidh Dickson, Engender
- Dr Carolynn Gray, University of West of Scotland
- Dr Peter Dunne, University of Bristol
- Dr Ben Vincent, The Open University
In addition to this, each LGBTI organisation has selected a designated non-binary member, to ensure non-binary people’s voices are represented on the Group. When publishing information relating to this Group’s work, these members’ names and personal details will remain confidential.
Additional members (for example, from other Scottish Government Directorates) can be proposed at any point by existing members. A majority acceptance for new membership from Group members will be required before an invitation is issued.
Scottish Government officials from key policy areas will also sit on the group, including representatives from areas including: Health, Education, Family Law, Fair Work, Social Security, and Analytical Services, as required.
- the group will be chaired by a rotating Chair
- secretariat will be provided by the Equality Unit
- membership, subject to the exceptions noted above, will be published on the Scottish Government website
Meetings and reporting structure
The Group will initially meet by virtual means, with consideration given to in-person meetings in future. Meetings will be held on a quarterly basis.
Group discussions will be minuted. Agendas and supporting papers will be circulated to the Group two weeks prior to each meeting. Draft minutes will be circulated not more than two weeks after meetings have taken place. To ensure transparency, Group minutes, Terms of Reference, and other relevant papers will be published on the Scottish Government website. Minutes and other papers will not attribute input to individuals.
The Group will report to relevant Scottish Ministers recommendations for changes required to law, policy or practice to improve non-binary people’s lives in Scotland. Initial recommendations will be made to Scottish Ministers within one year of the Group’s inaugural meeting, by March 2022.
In addition to attending meetings, members may be expected to obtain feedback from their organisations or wider stakeholder networks in order to progress the work of the Group.. Members should expect that some of this work could take place outwith meetings.
There will be flexibility for the Group to influence the agenda of meetings, but it will focus on delivering its Terms of Reference. Particular tasks may warrant the establishment of Sub Groups, consisting either of a subset of members or involving co-opted others, which will be agreed by the Group depending on how priorities progress.
The success of the Group will depend upon mutual trust and respect and may, at times, require a degree of sensitivity around discussions in seeking to arrive at a consensus. Open and frank discussion will be encouraged and supported.
In order to support this open environment, the use of social media or other external communications in relation to the work of the Group will not be permitted without the consensus of the Group.