Scotland: Rights groups call for recognition of legal third gender

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The Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance have launched a campaign calling for the creation of a legal third gender in Scotland.

The groups are calling on the Scottish Government to take the landmark step of recognising a legal third gender – sometimes known as ‘Gender X’.

Several countries already recognise a third gender to some degree, including Australia, Denmark, Malta, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and New Zealand.

The move would help people who do not identify as men or women. The campaign also calls for removing the requirement for psychiatric assessment from the process of legal gender recognition.

For intersex people, who are born with bodies that are not wholly male or wholly female, the groups highlight the key concern is protection from non-consensual and coercive medical attempts to ‘normalise’ their bodies. They are calling for the government to engage with intersex people and recognise their right to bodily autonomy and social equality.

Nathan Gale of the Scottish Transgender Alliance said: “Scotland is falling behind a growing number of countries around the world who now recognise in law that not everyone can be neatly categorised as male or female, and instead ensure that all trans and intersex people are accepted and protected.

“It is time for Scotland to catch up, recognise our existence and respect our diverse bodies and identities.”

29-year-old Robin Duval, who identifies as neither male nor female, said: “My friends know I don”t feel male or female and respect that, but the stress of having to pretend to be something that I’m not, everyday, just to fit in with society has a massive impact on my health and wellbeing.

“It affects every part of my life, whether I’m at work, going to the doctors, travelling through passport control, or even just going to the toilet.

“I just want to be accepted for who I am in the eyes of society, and have my gender recognised in the law with the same rights as anyone else.”

The group has launched a petition, “calling for the Scottish Government to recognise trans and intersex people’s rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination”.

Last week PinkNews spoke to activist Christie Elan-Cane, who is campaigning for gender X passports and regonition of non-gendered people in the UK.