Gender inclusive additions to the Gaelic language have been welcomed by parents amid controversy over self-identification law changes.

Trans and non-binary young people from the Highlands were interviewed about their experiences for a new BBC Eòrpa documentary.

While it isn’t known how many transgender people there are in the Highlands, numbers are growing and new Gaelic words have been created to reflect the differences between sex and gender.

Dr Rachel Allan, a psychologist and Gaelic speaker from Glasgow, who took part in the programme, said its creators were conscious that many people watching the programme might not be aware of the correct terms, particularly in Gaelic.

She said “gnè bith-eòlasach” was used to denote sex, which she described as “male or female usually, according to chromosomes and hormones and charted at birth.

She said “gnè” translated as gender, explaining that it is “connected with behaviours and how a person feels within themselves” while neo-bhinearaidh is Gaelic for non-binary.

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For the programme, the BBC spoke to LCBT+ groups on social media and other organisations which provide material for schools to pull together terminology that was already being used, but it was the first time all the terms had appeared together.

The changes were welcomed by Brian, the father of teenager Ro, who took part in the documentary and identifies as non-binary. 

He said: “We need new vocab in the Gaelic world anyway.

“Sometimes it takes a bit of time. I think with social media it is much easier to get those messages out there – terminology and everything else, and I am very happy to use it.

The Herald:

“My advice [to parents] would be talk to your children, make sure you are listening to them and that you are not imposing your views on them all the time.

"Also talk to other parents who may be going through the same thing. Just accept it"

Ro said their parents had been very supportive of their life-changing decision.

They said: “When I was really young, I didn’t think about gender or sexuality. 

“I always played with the boys and didn’t like girly things. It was hard hearing people call me ‘her’ and ‘girl’ all the time.

“I started using the name Ro in school first of all, with my friends. I was around 13.

“And then when I was used to it I asked my family to call me Ro. It took them a while to get used to it, but then it was good.

The Herald:

“Language is always evolving. People are making new words for people like me. And we have to start using those words.”

“If I say I’m non-binary you should just accept it.”

It comes as a last-ditch effort to stop Scots from being able to self-identify their gender in this year’s census, regardless of their legal status, failed. 

Campaign group Fair Play for Women lost its appeal yesterday against a decision made by Lord Sandison, who ruled transgender people can give a different answer from the sex on their birth certificate without the need for a gender recognition certificate (GRC). 

READ MORE: Trans people can self-identify on census after campaign group loses final court appeal 

Eòrpa reporter Annabel Maclennan also spoke to Melvin, a student and trans man who is originally from the Netherlands and fluent despite only starting to learn Gaelic two years ago.

He said: “I’ve seen people who are much older than me who are open about being trans – that’s important too. Seeing that there is a future for you, that you can live your whole life as yourself.

"It would have been good to have had that when I was at school.

“The waiting list for an initial consultation to begin the process of transitioning is three years. I’m quite fortunate that I can go to a private clinic but it’s not easy for many people and not good for their mental health, because you feel uncomfortable in your body.

The Herald:

“I don’t like using the toilet if there aren’t any gender-neutral ones. When toilets are gendered, I don’t know which one to use.”

The documentary also heard from supporters and opponents of reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which will also cut the period in which applicants need to have lived in their acquired gender before it is officially recognised, to three months.

Melvin said: “Some people know they are trans when they are eight years old, so I don’t think it’s fair that they should have to wait so long.”

Sarah, an American who has lived in the Highlands for 20 years, didn't come out as a trans woman until she was in her 30s and told of her apprehension about telling work colleagues.

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She said: "It got to the point where I was Sarah everywhere apart from at work."

When she did come out she said the company, a building firm, were really supportive and had a going away party for her former self.

"Even with the rougher around the edges people in the company, they were accepting," she said.

The Herald:

"When it comes to the bigotry and the hatred that is directed against us, it makes it hard and that's what the people who are against us want.

"With the increased visibility of people like me, the people who do not want us to exist are also more visible and they are loud. We are seen as dangerous and it's bigotry.

"Ultimately it comes down to power. Who gets to decide I'm a woman. Isn't that my decision?"

The documentary is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer until March 19.