A last-ditch effort to prevent Scots from being able to self-identify their gender in this year’s census, regardless of their legal status, has failed.
Campaign group Fair Play for Women have lost their appeal against a ruling by Lord Sandison, which ruled that transgender people can give a different sex answer on their birth certificate without needing a gender recognition certificate (RCMP).
The group had taken their case to three civil judges at the Court of Session in a last-ditch attempt to overturn the decision, but on Thursday the Edinburgh-based court ruled the National Records of Scotland’s advice was legal.
The feminist campaign group said they were ‘surprised and disappointed by the decision’ and it would mean that ‘the census in Scotland in 2022 will not collect clear and reliable data on sex’.
“This is a setback in the fight to protect women and girls. But we always knew it would be long,” a spokeswoman said.
“It’s a skirmish in a long fight and we are not discouraged. We know public opinion is with us.
“Our support continues to grow. We are disappointed but not discouraged.
Earlier this month, Lord Sandison ruled National Records of Scotland guidelines that people can self-identify their gender, even if they don’t have an RCMP, are permitted.
He said an answer provided in “good faith and on a reasonable basis” would not be a false answer.
In his 32-page decision, he said there was “no general rule or principle of law that a question relating to a person’s sex can only be properly answered by reference to the sex listed on the birth certificate or the RCMP of that person”.
Fair Play for Women said sex is biological and the law does not allow self-identification of sex.
The group brought the action after it was announced that the sex question in the census would contain advice saying, “If you are transgender, you may be different from what is on your birth certificate. You do not need a gender recognition certificate.
Vic Valentine, director of Scottish Trans, welcomed the decision and said: ‘The Scotland Census is supposed to count everyone in Scotland as who they are on Census Day, and the guidance provided gives reassurance to men and women trans that it’s the same for them as it is for everyone else.
“This is an important decision, making it clear that all trans men and women can be counted in the census as who they are, not just those who have changed sex on their birth certificate.”