Our view on sex, gender identity and policy-making

We recognise that both sex and self-identified gender may be relevant to people‘s lived experiences, and believe that public authorities need to ensure that the interests of everyone are balanced fairly, in the least discriminatory way possible.

To achieve this, public policy-making needs to recognise the importance of sex as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, as well as gender reassignment.

For example, our work on the 2021 census argued that this was an opportunity to gather data on both sex and self-declared gender identity, and to provide good quality data on these separate demographic characteristics.

In practice, meeting the needs of both groups will require considered and nuanced policy-making. Policy development will most likely involve different approaches in different contexts, and sometimes developing new ways of delivering services to ensure everyone’s rights and interests are fairly respected. It will also require effective representation, robust scrutiny and the proper use of institutional safeguards such as Equality Impact Assessments to ensure that all affected groups are protected.