Scotland to let people self-identify their sex in next census

1 September 2021, 17:26 | Updated: 1 September 2021, 17:28

The change in guidance comes after England and Wales' 2021 counts asked a question about gender identification for the first time
The change in guidance comes after England and Wales' 2021 counts asked a question about gender identification for the first time. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

People in Scotland will be able to self-identify their sex in next year's census, official guidance has said.

The guidance, issued on Tuesday, means Scots will not be required to give the same sex as that recorded on their birth certificate and a voluntary question on trans status will follow allowing people to identify as non-binary.

"If you are transgender the answer you give can be different from what is on your birth certificate," the guidance reads.

"You do not need a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)."

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"If you are non-binary or you are not sure how to answer, you could use the sex registered on your official documents, such as your passport.

"A voluntary question about trans status or history will follow if you are aged 16 or over.

"You can respond as non-binary in that question."

The census was delayed a year in Scotland due to the pandemic, while England, Wales and Northern Ireland held their counts earlier this year.

In this year's census in England and Wales, people were asked the voluntary question of: "Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?"

It was the first time the question had been asked.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said answers to the question helped local communities by "allowing charities, public bodies, and local and central government to understand what services people might need".

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"This information helps monitor equality between groups of people of different gender identities," the ONS went on.

"Your answer will help public bodies to identify discrimination or social exclusion based on gender identity and work to stop it from happening."