Campaigners from the Scottish Trans Alliance will demonstrate for three days at the Scottish Parliament this week, to highlight what they describe as a major threat to trans people’s rights. They are warning of a new “section 28”, targeting trans people, as attempts are made to try to change the rules that currently recognise trans people’s lived sex.
Over the first three days of the new Parliamentary year, Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th September, the campaign will maintain a presence outside the Parliament under the banner “Defend Trans Rights – Our Lives Are Real”.
The focus of the demonstration is on attempts to change the basis of the next Census, in 2021, so that instead of answering the sex question in the sex they live as, trans people are forced to answer with the sex they were assigned at birth. The Scottish Government proposes to continue with the arrangements for previous Censuses, under which trans men and trans women answer in their lived sex. But the convener of the Parliamentary Committee considering the Census rules, Joan McAlpine MSP, is calling for this to be changed to require trans people to answer with their “biological sex at birth”.
James Morton, Manager of the Scottish Trans Alliance said, “In all previous Censuses, trans men and trans women have answered using their lived sex, and that has worked well. To change that would fundamentally undermine the long established practice, and internationally established human right, of recognising our lived sex. There is no doubt that if those who want this change to be made in the Census are successful, they will move on to try to stop trans people being recognised as our lived sex in other areas such as our use of services including the NHS and education, and in government and other equality policies.”
He added, “If the Census is changed in this way, it will be the first time that LGBT equality in legislation has gone backwards anywhere in the UK since the introduction of section 28 under Margaret Thatcher in 1988. Section 28 labelled same-sex relationships as ‘pretended’. The suggested change to the Census sex question would similarly state that trans people’s lived sex is not real. That’s why we’re here at the Parliament to defend against this threat to trans rights, and to say Our Lives Are Real.”