TRANSGENDER people will be able to answer with whatever sex they choose in 2022’s Scottish census - regardless of whether or not they hold a Gender Recognition Certificate.

The news comes as guidance on how to answer the Census’s “sex question” was released by the Scottish Government.

The question will ask: “What is your sex?”, with only two answers, female and male, available.

Transgender people will be allowed to answer with a different sex to the one it says on their birth certificate, regardless of whether they hold a Gender Recognition Certificate.

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The guidance goes on: “If you are non-binary or you are not sure how to answer, you could use the sex registered on your official documents, such as your passport.

“A voluntary question about trans status or history will follow if you are aged 16 or over. You can respond as non-binary in that question.”

The guidance says the question should be answered by everybody, and that the results will help to provide “vital information for organisations on national and local population statistics, and for long term analysis, as it has been asked since 1801”.

It adds: “This question is also used for equality monitoring.”

Answers to the census will remain confidential for the next 100 years.

Elsewhere, the government release says the question is “mandatory” and that the guidance “confirms and clarifies the continuation of the self-identification position”.

ScotCen Social Research commissioned by the National Records of Scotland reported that three times as many people would be willing to answer a sex question with self-identification guidance than with legal sex guidance.

The government further notes: “In addition the Census 2011 guidance in England and Wales, and Scotland, used self-identification guidance, and it is NRS’s view that self-identification is in practice the most accurate description of how previous sex questions in the census – in the absence of guidance - were answered.”

Scotland’s census will take place in March 2022, a year after the equivalent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was delayed north of the Border due to the Covid pandemic.

The Scottish Government’s Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary, Angus Robertson, said: “Scotland’s census helps build a picture of our population - government, local authorities and other organisations use this data to make important decisions about the future of our country.

“The publication of the guidance for the sex question provides welcome clarity for people filling in the census and supports participation by enabling all people across Scotland to complete the census next year."