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Members of the Parliament’s influential culture committee are to say a government consultation on proposed changes to the 2021 census which would allow members of the public to choose whether to answer a question about their sex on the basis of their actual sex or the gender they identify with, has “serious deficiencies”.In particular, they will raise claims women’s groups have not been given sufficient say, balanced against those of the trans community who thought they had won significant progress for their equal rights hopes.Members of the committee agree that a question on sexual orientation and a question allowing people to state whether they identify as male, female or non-binary should be in the census, but say answering it should be optional.In its guidance for the bill, National Records of Scotland had proposed that the mandatory sex question should include a non-binary response option as well as male and female.“I think we should not use the term strict liability... But I feel if we don’t legislate for ourselves, I fear people who don’t understand football – politicians – are going to come in and do it for us.” What she advocated was a “voluntary code”.“We need to come up with a code that embodies what is and isn’t acceptable in football.” Readers’ comments: You are personally liable for the content of any comments you upload to this website, so please act responsibly.
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We are pleased to see that the Committee shares this concern,” she said.
Women’s rights campaigner Susan Sinclair, writer for blog Scottish Women, also welcomed the committee’s report: “Evidence presented to the Committee found there was a lack of consultation with women’s groups throughout this entire process.
Today’s report, which is also likely to have implications for plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, sees MSPs argue the way gender identity is used in a bill to change the census “has created confusion” and risks conflating sex with gender identity.
The report says this could undermine the usefulness of the data gathered, particularly in relation to public sector duties to address sex-based discrimination.