The ‘Equal Recognition’ campaign launched by the Scottish Transgender Alliance and the Equality Network includes a call for the Scottish Government to change the law to recognise a third gender in Scotland.
Currently transgender people who do not identify as male or female, but rather have a non-binary gender identity, have no legal recognition of their gender unlike in other countries including Australia, Denmark, Malta, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and New Zealand where a third gender is given recognition.
Intersex people – who are born with bodies which cannot be classified as clearly male or female – are often denied basic human rights by being subjected to genital surgeries in early childhood that damage and traumatise them for life, which the campaign calls to end.
The campaign also calls for reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to make it easier for transgender and intersex people to have the gender they live as legally recognised. The charity says that transgender people in Scotland are currently forced to undertake a humiliating psychiatric assessment simply in order to have the gender they live as reflected on their birth certificate.
Over 150 transgender and intersex people from across the country joined the charity to launch the campaign in the biggest push for transgender and intersex rights to date in Scotland. An online petition was also launched.
Nathan Gale, of the Scottish Transgender Alliance said: “Scotland is falling behind a growing number of countries around the world who now recognise in law that not everyone can be neatly categorised as male or female, and instead ensure that all trans and intersex people are accepted and protected. It is time for Scotland to catch up, recognise our existence and respect our diverse bodies and identities.”
Robin Duval, 29, a non-binary trans person from Edinburgh stated: “I feel like I’m leading a double life. My friends know I don’t feel male or female and respect that, but the stress of having to pretend to be something that I’m not, everyday, just to fit in with society has a massive impact on my health and wellbeing. It affects every part of my life, whether I’m at work, going to the doctors, travelling through passport control, or even just going to the toilet. I just want to be accepted for who I am in the eyes of society, and have my gender recognised in the law with the same rights as anyone else.”