The Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill is currently working its way through the Scottish Parliament. The amendments proposed are to include questions on gender identity and sexual orientation. I’ve written about it before and also submitted written evidence to the Committee.

However, the explanatory notes accompanying the Bill raised some questions for me. Specifically around the claim that the question on Sex is already accepted as including gender identity, and that guidance clearly stated this for the 2011 Census. I couldn’t remember reading anything like that so I’ve asked the National Records of Scotland a few questions. Public authorities are required to answer Freedom of Information requests within 20 working day, so hopefully I’ll hear back soon and I’ll update this post with what they say.

Please can you provide copies of any documents or policies for the following –

1 When the 2011 Census asked ‘What is your sex?’ with two possible answers Female or Male, were the National Records of Scotland collecting information on biological sex or self-identified sex/gender identity?

2 What Guidance was issued for this question?

3 It is proposed that the 2021 Census question ‘What is your sex?’ will have more options to choose i.e. Female, Male or Other, as biological sex is binary will this question actually be asking about a persons gender identity and not sex? What are your definitions of these terms?

4 As Sex is a protected characteristic within the Equality Act 2010 why are the National Records of Scotland no longer collecting this information? What assessments have been carried out to reveal the impact this will have?

5 How will the National Records of Scotland ensure they comply with the Public Sector Duty as set out in the Equality Act 2010 if they no longer record the basic information on biological Sex?

6 Which Women’s groups were consulted when the question ‘What is your sex?’ changed its meaning from collecting statistics on biological sex to Self Identified sex/Gender Identity? Can you provide copies of the submissions you received from the Women’s groups?

7 What other stakeholders did National Records of Scotland consult when the definition of Sex changed to no longer mean biological sex but Self identified sex/Gender Identity? Did any express concerns on how this would negatively impact on the delivery and planning of services e.g. Health? Can you provide copies of the submissions you received from them?

I have 5 Campaign Aims and rectifying the legalities of policies is one of them.

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