Seven national LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) organisations in Scotland welcome the publication of the Scottish Government’s Non-Binary Equality Action Plan.
Scottish Trans, Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland, LGBT Health and Wellbeing, LEAP Sports and Time for Inclusive Education welcome that the Scottish Government has committed to taking wide-ranging actions across many areas of policy and practice. These could make a real difference to non-binary people’s lives.
Non-binary people identify as having a gender which is in-between or beyond the two categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’, as fluctuating between ‘man’ and ‘woman’, or as having no gender, either permanently or some of the time.
The organisations believe this is the first time any government in the world has set out commitments specifically focused on improving the experiences of non-binary people.
The Action Plan is the culmination of many years work, and is largely the result of recommendations made by the Working Group for Non-Binary Equality, which was made up of non-binary people, LGBTI equality organisations and academics. The Group set out 38 actions they thought the Scottish Government could do to reduce barriers non-binary people face to equal treatment in services, policy and the law. Most of the recommendations have now been accepted by the Scottish Government.
The LGBTI groups say that while they welcome the Plan, they would be seeking more clarity on actions to take forward some of the recommendations.
Actions in the plan that could make a real difference include:
- commitments to seek to influence the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that people participating in policy-making processes and receiving financial compensation for doing so are not penalised by a reduction in their benefits
- producing guidance on name changes so that non-binary people, and all trans people, along with public bodies and services, can be confident about timely and simple processes for updating people’s details
- starting a ‘Call for Evidence’ on how public buildings, including sport and leisure facilities, work for everyone, with a view to making necessary changes that would improve their accessibility for any group that is currently underserved by public buildings
- improving the evidence that exists on non-binary people’s lives, particularly around their experiences of gender based violence and homelessness.
Vic Valentine, Scottish Trans Manager (and member of the working group on Non-Binary Equality), said:
“It is really positive to see this Action Plan published, and to see that the Scottish Government has made public, concrete and measurable commitments to changes that will make non-binary people’s lives better.
“I particularly welcome the commitments that will have a positive impact not only on non-binary people but on marginalised people more widely: such as those that seek to make it easier and fairer for people on benefits to participate in policy making processes and be paid for their time, and to look at how the design of public buildings does, or doesn’t, work for everyone in Scotland.”
Al Hopkins, LEAP Sports (and member of the working group on Non-Binary Equality), said:
“We welcome the publication of the Action Plan and are pleased to see sport and physical activity featured prominently, and with the objective of making non-binary people feel increasingly welcomed and able to participate.
“I know first hand the positive impact inclusive and welcoming sport and physical activities have on the lives of trans and/or non-binary people. LEAP Sports look forward to the contribution we can make in ensuring the actions are realised meaningfully, and that non-binary people are authentically represented, embraced and included within all aspects of sport and physical activity from sporting environments to facilities to participation.”
Mark Kelvin, LGBT Health & Wellbeing CEO said:
“I welcome the publication of the Scottish government’s Non-Binary Equality Action Plan and am pleased to see tangible commitments to improving the healthcare and health and wellbeing outcomes for non-binary people living here in Scotland.
“In particular, the recognition of the importance of LGBT+ affirmative and competent mental health and wellbeing support is extremely encouraging. I’m pleased to see the commitment to ensuring mandatory training for mental health providers on trans and non-binary healthcare needs, as well as a commitment to ensure services are equipped to support trans and non-binary people. Mental Health Providers frequently request this training but struggle to prioritise it with competing demands. Ensuring it is mandatory will help organisations to make space for it within their busy workloads.
“Overall, this is a positive step towards achieving equality for Non-Binary people.”