Scotland's Highland Games is to have non-binary transgender categories for the first time in its 1,000-year history.

The Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA), which represents more than 60 Games north of the border, met yesterday to discuss non-binary representation.

The country’s main Highland Games body has faced strong

criticism over its lack of gender equality for female athletes and is under pressure to include transgender non-binary categories in its events.

The move towards making Games more inclusive follows last month’s announcement by Scottish Athletics that all its championship events would include a non-binary gender category.

The Scottish 5K Championships at Silverknowes, Edinburgh, in April, will be one of the first such events.

The SHGA, established in 1947, met in Perth to discuss the development of strategies on both gender equality and non-binary representation and will meet the Scottish Government this month to lobby for funding.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, SHGA secretary Ian Grieve sent committee members an email about demands to allow women to compete in the Games, highlighting the link to Scottish Athletics’ new policy on non-binary categories.

He said: “We don’t have an official policy view on non-binary events, but we may discuss it. It is definitely going to get more complex. There might even be other categories out there as well.

“Scottish Athletics are being a wee bit progressive – good luck to them.”

The first historical references to the Highland Games heavy events

were during the reign of King Malcolm III between 1057 and 1093.

The Ceres Games in Fife are the oldest continuous running Highland Games, established in 1314 by Robert the Bruce.

In December, Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said if organisers wanted Scottish Government funding they would need to be seen as an organisation treating people as equals.

James Morton, manager at Scottish Trans Alliance, said: “Highland Games should showcase positive traditions but not out-dated sexist exclusion.

“With such a wide range of

Highland Games’ events, including tossing the caber, running, Highland dancing and solo piping, there doesn’t need to be a one-size-fits-all approach.”

“For example, it may turn out that all bagpipers could compete against each other regardless of sex/gender, while for running events the Highland Games might wish to choose to adopt the same inclusion policies as Scottish


"For heavy events such as tossing the caber and tug o' war, it may turn out that fairness and safety of competitors means grouping based on physical characteristics such as height and/or weight and lifting ability rather than sex/gender.

He added: "We hope the Scottish Highland Games Association will embrace bringing these exciting Scottish traditional sports to ever wider audiences and diverse competitors.

"The basic vital step of including women competitors should clearly be the top priority."