Public bodies should ask questions on the basis of gender identity rather than sex when collecting official data, a top adviser to the Scottish Government has said.
In his draft guidance Roger Halliday, the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician, suggested that questions on biological sex “should not be asked” except in specific medical situations, claiming it is “likely to breach an individual’s human privacy”.
A Scottish Government summary of the document stated that in most cases “data should be collected on the basis of gender identity rather than sex”.
Dr Kath Murray, of the policy analysis group MurrayBlackburnMackenzie Collective, said the draft proposals would ‘cement’ the loss of the country’s capacity to gather meaningful data if approved.
She said: “Biological sex is well-understood to exert a strong influence over experiences and outcomes from birth onwards. It is one of the most important variables for policymaking, planning and research”.
Writing for The Scotsman, Susan Dalgety said that the Scottish Government’s “apparent determination to erase sex and replace it with gender identity could have serious consequences” for women.
The columnist added: “If sex no longer matters when collecting data for public services, then the distinct needs of women and girls – rooted in our biology – can be ignored”.
Last year, an academic report accused the Office for National Statistics and the National Records of Scotland of being ‘ideologically captured’ by pro-trans groups.
It said that the move to allow census respondents to answer the question “What is your sex?” using their preferred option instead of biological reality was taken without consulting other stakeholders.
Co-author Lisa Mackenzie said that consequently the process “lost sight of the main purpose of the Census, which is to collect robust, high quality data to inform public policy and the allocation of public resources”.