The Inner Court of Session in Scotland has ruled that guidance issued alongside the census, which informs transgender people they can register as male or female regardless of their legal status, was lawful.
We are surprised and disappointed with the decision. This means that the census in Scotland in 2022 will not collect clear and reliable data on sex.
In the words of the Scottish Government’s counsel “the census is a ten yearly collection of data from the population used to inform strategic policy and allocation of resources and understanding of the country’s population”. The ability of public authorities and researchers to use the data from this year’s census for this purpose has now been damaged.
This ruling has detrimental implications not only for Scotland’s 2022 census, but also for data collection in Scotland more generally and harmonisation of data across the UK.
This is a setback in the fight to protect women and girls. But we have always known it will be a long haul. We won in England and Wales, and last week For Women Scotland won their case. This is one skirmish in a long fight and we are not deterred. We know public opinion is with us. Our support is growing all the time. We are disappointed but not disheartened.
We will consider very carefully the full judgment when it is issued tomorrow before making any further comment or decisions.