Nicola Sturgeon faces legal battle from campaigners over plans to let transgender people choose their sex on next year’s census in Scotland

  • Trans people shouldn’t be allowed to identify their sex, according to campaigners
  • Scottish Government plans to permit self-identification on next year’s census
  • Sturgeon plans to simplify legalizing sex in Scotland 

Nicola Sturgeon is facing a legal battle over plans to allow transgender people to choose what sex they are in next year’s census, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Campaigners at Fair Play for Women have launched a judicial review after SNP Ministers decided to let participants ‘self-identify’ as male or female.

The High Court in London ruled that the answer must be based on what sex is listed on a person’s birth certificate.

As the First Minister is preparing legislation to allow people to legalize sex change in Scotland, this court action follows.

Guidance for the question ‘what is your sex?’ in Scotland’s census, which was delayed for a year due to Covid, says: ‘If you are transgender the answer you give can be different from what is on your birth certificate. You do not need a gender recognition certificate.’

Dr Nicola Williams is leading the campaign against the planned changes to allow transgender people to legally change their sex without medical checks

Dr. Nicola Williams leads the fight against planned changes that would allow transgender individuals to legally alter their sex without any medical check

Women’s rights campaigners claim that the guidance is ‘unlawful and directly impacts the rights of women and girls’ – because the census is used to plan government policy.

Earlier this year, Fair Play For Women – established ‘to protect the rights of women and girls in the UK’ – won a High Court case over similar plans to allow transgender people to pick their sex in the census for England and Wales.

Ms Sturgeon’s administration decided that the ruling in London was not binding for its census.

Dr Nicola Williams, director of Fair Play For Women, said: ‘The Office for National Statistics wasted tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money desperate to defend their unlawful position in court. The fact that the Scottish Government has done the exact same thing is unbelievable.

‘If Nicola Sturgeon wants to change the definition of sex in the Scottish census she must convince her own parliament it’s the right thing to do.

‘She does not have the power to make up her own definition and force it through regardless.

‘There are huge differences between males and females in the UK, in critical areas like crime statistics. That’s why accurate recording of sex matters.

‘The High Court in England backed our position and we are confident that the Scottish court will see it the same way.’

Transgender organizations want to self-identify easier, as getting a gender recognition certification is an extremely difficult process.

Ms Sturgeon has vowed to table legislation within the next year to make it easier for people in Scotland to legally change gender

Ms Sturgeon pledged to introduce legislation in the next 12 months to allow people to change their gender legally in Scotland.

Gender Recognition Panel members must prove that they are diagnosed with gender dysphoria. They also need to show proof they have attained the age of 21 and lived for at least 2 years in the new gender. After this, they can make a legally binding statement that they want to remain as this gender all their lives.

This process was completed by about 6,000 people.

Ms. Sturgeon has promised to bring legislation to the Scottish Parliament within the next 12 months to facilitate people changing their gender. She said the current process is ‘degrading, intrusive and traumatic’.

She previously said: ‘As an ardent feminist, I don’t see the greater recognition of transgender rights as a threat to me as a woman or to my feminism.’

Her stance is in contrast to the Westminster administration’s position. Liz Truss (Women and Equalities Minister) recently said that transgender persons should not have the right to legally change their sex without undergoing medical screening.

The responsibility for the census in Scotland falls to cabinet secretary Angus Robertson. He is a Sturgeon ally and has been tapped as a potential leader of SNP.

The Government sent inquiries regarding the legal action to National Records of Scotland (the body that runs the census), which declined to reply.