THE Scottish Transgender Alliance has given evidence to a Parliamentary committee set up to ensure the legal equality of transgender and intersex individuals.

Giving evidence to the Parliamentary Women’s and Equalities Committee at Westminster, the charity’s manager James Morton said: “In our survey of 895 non-binary people in the UK, within the last five years, 11 per cent said they’d been refused services, one third said they’d experienced harassment when accessing services, a fifth had experienced workplace harassment and 95 per cent said they were worried about disclosing their non-binary status at work.”

The STA campaigns for the human rights of trans and intersex people and believes that intersex equality must include the right to bodily autonomy and the right to self-determination.

The evidence session followed the publication of the first tranche of evidence to the Transgender Equality Inquiry, which received over 230 submissions before it closed in August this year.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was to hear from people who wish to self-define their legal gender and followed a petition created by Ashley Reed for the UK Government calling for that right.

Morton cited the Ministry of Justice’s response Reed’s petition in which it said it was “not aware of any specific detriment” to non-binary gendered individuals in current legislation – a statement that caused widespread outrage among activists and the trans community.

The inquiry aims to fill in gaps left by previous legislation. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allowed trans people to be legally recognised in their gender , so long as they have “lived fully for the last two years in their acquired gender and intend to live permanently in their acquired gender”.

And the Equality Act 2010, which made it illegal for trans people to be discriminated against because of their gender. However, individuals who do not fall into traditional binary gender classifications, and who are sometimes called “gender neutral”, “non-gendered”, or “gender non-confirming”, are a specific category of the transgender community, rather than transitioning from one gender to another. Campaigners say such individuals don’t have a clear legal status and can become marginalised under the law.

Yesterday’s session took the form of two panels. The first, which concerned law and transgender equality, heard evidence from Morton, as well as from Karen Harvey, the chairwoman of a:gender, Ashley Reed and Peter Dunne, visiting researcher of New York University Law School.

The second panel heard evidence from the experiences of trans and gender-neutral witnesses.

The next session of the Transgender Equality Inquiry will take place on the 28th of October.