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Apr. 30th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



RESPONSES FROM THE LEADERS OF THE UK’S TWO MAIN POLITICAL PARTIES ON ‘X’

I recently submitted questions to the leaders of both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party in Q&A sessions for PinkNews. The leaders’ responses have been published and are predictably very much in line with what was said by representatives of both parties during PinkNews Debate on 19 March 2015.

For the Conservatives, the question and response from David Cameron:

Q – Christie Elan-Cane (Gender X passports): If you win a further term in government, what, if anything, would you do in order to rectify the situation for non-gendered and bi-gendered people in the UK who were desperately hoping the coalition government would follow the lead taken by governing authorities of Australia and New Zealand and permit the issuance of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports to those who require them, and were very badly let down by your government in its first term of office as proposals in favour of ‘X’ Passports and the fundamental needs of those who require ‘X’ Passports were ignored?  Are you prepared to personally look towards addressing our situation, starting with reversal of the decision to reject provision of ‘X’ Passports?
A - I understand the concerns of people who want to have their gender recorded differently on their passport, but this is a complex issue, particularly given the risk that people might encounter difficulties with entry restrictions into other countries. We would want to consider these issues carefully, and study the experience of those countries which have done it before making any proposals for change.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/04/29/qa-david-cameron-pledges-to-end-gay-cure-therapies-and-consider-gender-x-passports/

I’m afraid I got no sense of any real commitment to address the issues surrounding non-gendered identity in this response and neither did I detect a will to deliver what is required on ‘X’ Passports. Others may disagree but it is the result of my having been kicked in the teeth far too many times, not least by the coalition government, while fighting to achieve legitimate identity that most people can take for granted that I cannot see this as anything other than out of sight and out of mind.

And Ed Miliband’s response for the Labour Party (with thanks to PN for presenting my lengthy question to the Opposition Leader in full):

Q – Christie Elan-Cane (Gender X passports): Labour Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper recently responded to a question at PinkNews Debate that concerned non gender-specific ‘X’ Passportsand the wider issue that surrounds ‘X’ Passports, i.e. the current lack of recognition and provision in general for non-gendered people in the UK.
It was acknowledged that existing ‘equalities’ legislation is out of date. Yvette Cooper pledged the Labour Party would conduct a “specific review” of policy and legislation governing trans* issues. I would argue that existing legislation has always failed and does continue to fail those of us whose identities cannot be defined as either male or female.
My question therefore, would Ed Miliband care to elaborate on the proposed measures outlined by the former Shadow Home Secretary, and would he confirm whether there is definitive intention that the Labour Party, if elected to govern, would not just ‘review’ the situation but would commit to change existing discriminatory passport policy and implement the issuing of ‘X’ Passports to those who require non gender-specific documentation without further delay?
A - We need to go much further to ensure that Britain is a country which respects different identities. It is over ten years since the Gender Recognition Act was passed and our review would take a thorough look at issues surrounding gender identity. The specific issue of ‘X’ Passports will form part of that, but I’m not going to pre-empt the conclusions of the review.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/04/27/ed-miliband-backs-humanist-weddings-and-trans-children-in-pinknews-qa/

So, should the Labour Party win the general election, the most that has been definitively committed is more time wasted on another ‘review’ when what is required is affirmative action right now.

The responses from both party leaders echoed responses from their respective party representatives at PinkNews Debate when I presented an extended question:

Would your party commit to immediately introducing non gender-specific 'X' passports, and what will you do to address the wider issues facing lack of legal recognition for non-gendered people in the UK?

A reminder of PinkNews Debate where I present my question to the panel (at around 01:14:30 into the recording) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b2L6nZl3uo

The Liberal Democrat Party and the Green Party both gave their unequivocal support for the introduction of ‘X’ Passports and this is indeed backed up through inclusion in their manifestos.

There is no such commitment from either of the two main political parties. There is a common perception that a left leaning Labour government would be more empathetic towards the issues I raise. Indeed EDM 47 was widely supported by Labour MPs from the backbench. The leadership however does not necessarily adhere to causes supported by the backbench and the leadership response is just too non-committal. There is a recognition that the legislation that they introduced (the Gender Recognition Act 2004) is out of date. But the Act was badly flawed in the first instance and this discriminatory and thoroughly nasty piece of legislation completely failed many of the people for whom it should have been there to protect. And I can never forget – nor can I forgive – the determined effort of the last Labour government to introduce compulsory ID cards at all cost that would have criminalised anyone who was not prepared to accept gendered references on their personal identity documentation. It will take a hell of a lot of effort for Labour to put this right.

David Cameron repeating the Conservative line that caution must be exercised because of the possibility that not all countries would recognise the validity of an ‘X’ Passport. This repetitive mantra has been expressed by the Home Office and by HM Passport Office in communications with myself and with other people as it has been repeated fervently in response to written and oral questions from a number of MPs. That travellers who hold ‘X’ Passports will (it is hoped) encounter problems when trying to use the document for the intended purpose. To those who know only too well the problems that occur through not having one’s identity recognised within either the law or society, that this potential ‘risk’ is being used by political leaders as an excuse to deny the provision of non gender-speciifc documentation is patronising and offensive in the extreme. It is as though we are being denied legitimate identity and are forced to accept inappropriate gendered references on our personal documentation by the governing bodies of the state for our own good!

At least we are no longer being referred to by Conservatives (and, in one instance, by a LibDem peer) as “insignificant” in number (an unquantified assumption that is almost certain to be false), and with the deeply unpleasant subliminal inference that we are insignificant as individuals. The perception that we were not important enough to really matter was made very clear. Representatives of the former government and HM Passport Office have since modified their tone however the excuses continue and our fundamental rights and needs as human beings are ignored. Without social visibility and provision in order to exercise our right to legitimate identity, we are non-citizens in this country. It has finally been accepted that we do exist, even the PM has acknowledged the issue to a certain degree, but we do not exist on paper!

Yes, we know there are countries where the regimes are truly repugnant even by UK standards. We are hardly likely to want to travel to those countries – but we would however like to be able to travel to places that we do want to visit and not feel embarrassed and misrepresented by our own identity documentation that we are required to present.

I have not fought for the ‘right’ to carry an ‘X’ Passport for all these years and not given a moment’s thought to the potential for encountering difficulties if, when it comes to using the document, I find its validity is questioned at other countries’ international border control.

And for this reason I have sought to engage with parliamentarians from other countries and push towards an international consensus on the recognition of the ‘X’ Passport as a valid travel document, both in terms of countries making provision for their own citizens and at international border control where the document is presented by inbound travellers.

I have effectively been doing the work that government and HM Passport Office should have done!

The fundamental right of legitimate identity for citizens who do not define as either male or female, validated through the provision of non gender-specific documentation by national governments, has been recognised by some within the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and I anticipate there will be an official statement to that effect in due course although I am not able to provide further details at present.

This right was more recently endorsed by the Council of Europe where the Parliamentary Assembly voted to adopt a resolution that specifically recommended that member states should consider including a third option in identity documents (Resolution 2048 (2015), Clause 6.2.4) http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=21736&lang=en


CLIFFORD CHANCE REPORT

The Clifford Chance Report strongly presents the case for ‘X’ Passports in the UK. The report was delivered by courier to the Executive Office of HM Passport Office on 24 February 2015 http://www.cliffordchance.com/news/news/2015/03/clifford-chance-submits-report-to-hm-passport-office-calling-for.html.

HM Passport Office has so far failed to provide a proper response to my legal team. An update on further steps being taken will appear in due course.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Apr. 28th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



BLUE DIAMOND SOCIETY

I have written before about the remarkable achievements of the Blue Diamond Society in Nepal.

After the terrible events of this week, Blue Diamond Society is struggling to provide assistance to Nepal’s LGBT citizens that includes the recognised “third gender”.

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-activists-rally-help-those-struggling-stay-alive-nepal270415

Funds are urgently required. Here are Blue Diamond Society’s bank details for those in a position to donate http://www.bds.org.np/donate-us/.


CONSERVATIVES SUDDEN NEW COMMITMENT TO ‘X’

A curious quote from Colm Howard-Lloyd of LGBTory that relates to his party’s commitment to review the provision of non gender-specific ‘X’ passports for people who do not define as ‘M’ or ‘F’.

….our commitment to review the provision of gender neutral passports and other measures in support of transgender and intersex people….

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/04/28/lib-dem-minister-and-senior-tory-slam-stonewall-over-skewed-election-manifesto-graphic/

I have never met Mr Howard-Lloyd although have been reliably informed by a mutual acquaintance that he is onside. LGBTory however, unlike its Labour and Liberal Democrat counterparts, did not respond once to my communications in respect of rallying support for EDM 47. And out of 80 signatures just four were Conservatives http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47.

The Conservatives might now be attempting to backtrack after the outrage over their mishandling of this issue and with political and legal challenges directed at HM Passport Office, the most high profile being EDM 47, but I cannot allow either the party or its representatives to rewrite history.

There was no commitment under a Conservative led government, just a sham ‘review’ by HM Passport Office used as a means to close the door permanently on ‘X’ passport provision in the UK.

The facts as follows:

As part of the now discredited trans* equality action plan it was agreed that a review would be undertaken by former Identity and Passport Service (now HMPO). This would run from Jan 2012-Feb 2013.

My MP Simon Hughes challenged former Home Secretary Theresa May in a Written Parliamentary Question to publish the outcome of a highly secretive internal review (highly secretive = no review actually took place). This was after the former Identity and Passport Service had informed me, via Simon Hughes, of an unequivocal rejection of ‘X’ passports on the grounds there was effectively no requirement. The letter dated 09/04/13 was extremely offensive and the author appeared to go out of his way to be offensive. The letter was signed by former IPS CEO Sarah Rapson but it was later admitted had been written by a senior policy adviser.

Simon Hughes’ WPQ was tabled to the Home Secretary 21/05/13.
A reply was received on 13/06/13 by former Immigration Minister Mark Harper who undertook to publish the ‘review’ outcome in the parliamentary Library**:

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department
(1) if she will place in the Library a copy of the outcome and recommendations of the review undertaken by the Identity and Passport Service into the use of gender markings in the British passport; [157340]
(2) which external stakeholders have been consulted by the Identity and Passport Service into the use of gender markings in the British passport. [157342]

Mr Harper: The then Identity and Passport Service (now Her Majesty’s Passport Office) undertook an internal review into the use of gender markings in the British passport. The review primarily consisted of consideration of existing available material, together with liaison with a number of domestic and international stakeholders. As the nature of the contact with those stakeholders did not indicate any intention to publish their views, I will seek agreement from those stakeholders for their views to be published and, upon receipt of this consent, will place a copy of the full review in the Library of the House**.

I have, however, today placed a copy of the letter sent to the right hon. Member on 9 April 2013 that sets out the findings of the review and the agreed course of action to retain the existing use of ‘M’ and ‘F’ markings only in the passport. This letter has been redacted to remove personal information.

Several months passed before a hastily cobbled together document was placed in the Library of both Houses and published on the Parliament website.

Publication of ‘review outcome’ was preceded by a floor debate on 30/01/14 where Hugh Bayley MP (Labour) asked former Culture Secretary Maria Miller What assessment she has made of the feasibility of issuing non-gender-specific official documents to people who do not identify as a particular gender.

The response from Maria Miller: Non-gender is not recognised in UK law. The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female. We recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender. We are not aware that that results in any specific detriment, and it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-01-30b.1003.4#g1003.7

And a WPQ from Stephen Doughty (Labour) to the Home Secretary on 03/02/14 To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the introduction of gender non-specific passports; and what discussions she has had with international counterparts on this matter.

The reply from former Immigration Minister Mark Harper on the same day: Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) undertook an internal review into the use of gender markers in the British passport. I am today placing a copy of that review in the Library of both Houses….

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2014-02-03a.185451.h&m=40263

Later that week Mark Harper was sacked as Immigration Minister over a seemingly unrelated incident.

The publication of this document dispelled any doubts held by some as to the integrity of the ‘review’ process

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2014-0152/Gendermarkings__290114.pdf


SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

While in between parliamentary sessions (and governments) at Westminster, a motion has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament in support of EDM 47 and the need for ‘X’ Passports.

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S4M-12970

For those reading this from north of the border, requesting you contact your local MSP and urge their support.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Apr. 23rd, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Council of Europe adopts Resolution

Following on from yesterday, I am very pleased to report the Parliamentary Assembly has voted in favour to adopt a resolution on discrimination against trans* people in Europe, with 68 voting in favour, 23 against and 12 abstentions.

There was a proposed Amendment to remove Clause 6.2.4 which explicitly calls on member states to
consider including a third gender option in identity documents for those who seek it;

This amendment was thrown out with only 36 voting in favour as opposed to 60 against and 4 abstentions.

Here is the full text of Resolution document, which is ground breaking in many respects.

http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=21736&lang=en

It is my hope and intention that national governments of Europe and around the world should not just ‘consider’ including a third option where it is perceived as necessary to provide an indication of a person’s gender but that it is recognised unequivocally the requirement to include a non gender-specific third option for all areas of identity documentation is ESSENTIAL.


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Apr. 22nd, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Council of Europe

Today, Wednesday 22 April 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will debate and vote on a resolution on discrimination against trans* people in Europe

http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-DocDetails-EN.asp?fileid=21630&lang=EN

I draw your attention to Clause 6.2.4 where the Assembly calls on member states to “consider including a third gender option in identity documents for those who seek it;


The draft resolution was adopted unanimously by the committee on 20 March 2015.
The motion for resolution was tabled on 26 September 2013.

A corresponding report highlights the high percentage of trans* people (73%) who responded to an EU survey (Fundamental Rights Agency, 2012) defining their identity as neither male nor female.

Over the past two weeks I have written individually to more than 400 Assembly members and requested their support for the ‘encouragement’ of member states to recognise ‘X’ Passports.

In a strongly worded letter that outlined the exclusion of non-gendered trans* and lack of provision due to discriminatory national laws, I requested it was considered:

  • that the Council of Europe should encourage national governments within the region of Europe to accept the non gender-specific ‘X’ Passport as a valid and legitimate travel document when used by travelling citizens arriving at their national border areas;

  • that national governments are encouraged to provide the non gender-specific ‘X’ Passport to their own citizens in cases where neither ‘M’ nor ‘F’ are appropriate.


Given the very positive responses received from Assembly members, I am confident that ‘X’ Passports and the wider issue of recognition and provision will be raised during course of debate.


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Apr. 9th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



UK TRANS INFO PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

NON-GENDERED – Fighting for Legal Recognition is pleased to endorse a pre-election campaign led by UK Trans Info that was launched earlier today http://ppc.uktrans.info/.

The campaign asks prospective parliamentary candidates to pledge their support for:

·         expanding the definitions in the Equality Act 2010 to protect all who do not define as male or female;

·         reviewing the GRA 2004, with a view to bringing the UK into line with statement on Identity Recognition issued by WPATH in   January 2015;

·         the introduction of non gender-specific X Passports, and removing the requirement for a doctor’s letter when changing the M/F/X marker on a passport.

Please forward this link to your local parliamentary candidates and ask them to either tweet their support or make a pledge on the campaign website http://ppc.uktrans.info/.

You can find out who are your local candidates by entering your postcode or constituency on the UK Trans Info website.

Any questions about the UK Trans Info campaign should be directed to: info@uktrans.info

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered

Apr. 5th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure


‘X’ PASSPORTS

We continue to wait for HM Passport Office (HMPO) to respond with anything more than a receipt acknowledgement in response to a report compiled on my behalf by a dedicated team from Clifford Chance law firm that presented a strong case for the issuance of X’ Passports in the UK. The report was delivered by courier to the Office of acting Director General, Tyson Hepple on 24 February 2015, although it has been noted a new Director General Mark Thomson has been appointed to head the organisation from an unspecified date “in the spring”. The new appointment was announced without any media fanfare on HMPO website on 17 March 2015. I will keep the site updated as soon as anything of substance to report.

In the meantime, as all who read this site should be aware, EDM 47 achieved a total 80 supportive MP signatures at the close of play on 26 March 2015 and, with assurances of more signatures that unfortunately missed the deadline, the motion would have been closer to the target figure of 100+ signatures had the 2014-15 parliamentary session run its full course. 80 is nonetheless an INCREDIBLE achievement and everyone who worked to achieve this figure through contacting their own MP, spreading the word, or helped in any way to increase the count can feel very proud.

Support came mainly from the Labour Party (49 signatures) with proportional support from the Liberal Democrats (20 signatures) who include ‘X’ Passports as a policy item in their party manifesto, as does the Green Party. Support from regional parties was led by Plaid Cymru with three signatories, with one signature from the Scottish National Party and one signature from Alliance Party (Northern Ireland). The only sitting Member representing the Green Party has signed the motion and there was one signature from an Independent MP. Notable was that, with four admirable exceptions, there was a distinct lack of support for ‘X’ Passports from the Conservative Party.

So, percentage wise, the Labour Party at 49 signatures comprised just over 61% of the total, then the Liberal Democrat Party at 25%, the Conservative Party a miserable 5% and others (Greens, Plaid Cymru, SNP, Alliance and Independent) a combined total of seven signatures and just under 9%.

Conservative MPs, many of whom would not be ‘natural’ allies to the cause under any circumstances, would undoubtedly have been acting under instruction to boycott the motion on the basis the Tory-led coalition government had tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to bury ‘X’ Passports and the wider issues surrounding recognition of non-gendered identity, and HM government went to disproportionate and almost unbelievable lengths in the process. The Conservative Party held a majority of seats in the House. Had it not been for lack of Conservative Party support, EDM 47 would almost certainly have surpassed 100 signatures. The silent boycott was not exactly a surprise given the government’s proactive stance on LGBT never really did include ‘T’ as part of the deal (evidenced in the early days after the 2010 election, when trans* initiatives were rapidly decoupled from LGB and put into a separate and specific trans* ‘action plan’ that proved to be nothing more than a convenient dumping ground where commitments that were made to the trans* community were quietly abandoned as the government forged ahead and delivered on its high profile LGB initiatives where any benefit to trans* was purely incidental). The coalition government were conniving, duplicitous and cowardly. Despite the coalition government’s undeniable achievements on behalf of LGB, its overall record on LGBT is tarnished.

The Labour Party’s record while in office was abysmal, where organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) who rather than provide support for raising our issues to the government instead served not just as ‘gatekeeper’ but put up barriers. And never forget that Labour intended to introduce an ID card scheme where anyone not prepared to accept forced gendered classification under this compulsory national scheme faced the very real prospect of criminalisation. Labour were not just worse than useless while in government but its executive bodies were overtly hostile towards non-gendered issues and continued to deny the issue a necessary platform where profile could be raised. Given the history, that EDM 47 immediately found support from so many Labour Party backbench MPs was something of a welcome surprise, and Labour Party support continued as the signature count increased throughout the parliamentary session. Indicative that from the grassroots at least, there is a belief from within the party that the voices of those who are socially invisible must be heard.

Moving forward, I remind you all of the parties’ responses when I asked a direct question about provision of ‘X’ Passports to a political panel at recent PinkNews Debate  http://elancane.livejournal.com/27076.html

However wondering whether the Labour Party executive has really learned any lessons after reading former Equalities Minister, Gloria de Piero’s article in PinkNews yesterday http://elancane.livejournal.com/27554.html.

Much still to be done before those who govern or aspire to govern accept that we are all equal within this so-called democracy and that people who do not define as male or female should be treated as citizens. I'd wanted to post full list of signatories here but LJ very unhelpfully is not letting me – will try on Facebook - preserved for reference should the public servants decide to ‘refresh’ the Parliament website:

Early day motion 47

LEGAL RECOGNITION FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH A PARTICULAR GENDER
·         Session: 2014-15
·         Date tabled: 05.06.2014
·         Primary sponsor: Huppert, Julian
·         Sponsors: Corbyn, Jeremy, Kaufman, Gerald, Clark, Katy, Hopkins, Kelvin, McDonnell, John

That this House recognises the issues faced by those in the UK who identify themselves as non-gender, bi-gender or intersex; believes that many of those who are non-gendered or bi-gendered feel compromised and diminished as a result of inappropriate gender references on their personal identity information; acknowledges that all passports issued by HM Passport Office are currently gender-specific and it is therefore not possible to obtain a passport that contains no reference to gendered identity; understands that, alongside F (Female) and M (Male), the International Civil Aviation Organisation's Document 9303 already contains X (unspecified) as a permitted character for three permitted characters under the mandatory sex element for machine-readable travel documents; notes that in Australia and New Zealand citizens are able to obtain a non-gender specific X passport and that India, Nepal and Pakistan also recognise the legitimacy of X as a preferred option when M and F are not appropriate; further believes that allowing this possibility in the UK would go a long way to amend this discriminatory policy which denies non-gendered and bi-gendered people a legitimate identity; and therefore urges the Government and HM Passport Office to make non-gender-specific X passports available to those UK passport holders who do not identify with a particular gender.er EDMs by:


To Julian Huppert and those Members who dared to support the motion - Thank-you all so much!

NAME AND SHAME

During the course of the year I sent regular mailshots to hundreds of sitting Members across the House, literally thousands of emails in total, attempting to raise awareness of the issue and encourage MPs to support EDM 47. I modified my approach when nearing the end of session, and focussed on a more ‘targeted’ selection of MPs, sending copious amounts of emails and then calling their parliamentary offices in the final weeks. The narrowed ‘target’ list of MPs were all eligible to sign EDMs (ie. they were not precluded through parliamentary protocol) and neither did they subscribe to unhelpful aversion to EDMs “as a matter of principle”. I also avoided known bigots. The responses were sometimes illuminating.

I found the whole process exhausting and in turn equally rewarding as I got encouragement from the vast majority even though a signature often did not materialise. I do believe there were some signatures ‘lost’ in the system due to the early prorogation. But there were unfortunately (and I suppose inevitably) a few disappointments.

Former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson did not respond to a number of requests that he should support the motion.

Former Equalities Minster, Liberal Democrat Jenny Willott also did not respond after several requests.

Former minister Mark Hunter (LibDem), I understand, did refuse to sign the motion.

Rosie Cooper (Labour) I was reliably informed had definitely refused to sign the motion.

Diane Abbott (Labour), as I was loftily informed by her parliamentary office, is a big supporter of LGBT issues but had refused to sign the motion. When pressed for a reason, it was suggested that “Miss Abbott” did not like the way that EDM 47 was worded. As ‘X’ is the only non gender-specific data value permitted in accordance to an ICAO specification, maybe the UN should be alerted!!

Note that Diane Abbot has declared herself a Labour Party candidate for the 2016 London mayoral election. Also declared candidates for the Labour Party are David Lammy and Dame Tessa Jowell, both of whom have signed EDM 47 and both have expressed genuine support for this issue.

One of very few Conservatives on my ‘target’ list was Zac Goldsmith who, with a reputation as being something of a maverick within the party, I had hoped might just respond favourably. Maybe the volume of my emails, about a dozen in all over a period of weeks, was a bit overboard but was it really necessary for his office to put me on its ‘blocked senders’ list? He is also potentially standing as a Tory candidate for London Mayor.

LOOKING FURTHER:

With help from two leading law firms Clifford Chance and K&L Gates, and a growing army of supporters from both within and outside Westminster – and pushing an inroad to the European Parliament and about to approach the Council of Europe (again) – there is a long road ahead but the fight for legitimate identity is a battle we are winning!

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Apr. 4th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



IN RESPONSE TO GLORIA DE PIERO

The following communication was sent today to Gloria de Piero, former Shadow Equalities Minister for the Labour Party in response to her article published today in PinkNews
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/04/04/gloria-de-piero-on-ten-years-since-the-passing-of-the-gender-recognition-act/

Dear Gloria de Piero

I have read your article in today’s PinkNews and I share the views expressed in some of the online comments towards the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004.

The GRA was the most discriminatory piece of legislation that I can recall and the many diverse sections within the trans* community who were excluded from its narrow remit still suffer the consequences today. The GRA effectively created what one commenter describes very well as a trans* hierarchy of the haves and have nots, or legislation designed to meet the needs of the ‘deserving’ who can blend into gendered society and disappear while completely ignoring the existence of the ‘undeserving’ such as myself who did not make a lifestyle choice to be non-gendered. My non-gendered identity is a fact of life and as real as the identity of any gendered person whether trans* or cisgender, but I am denied legitimate identity and people in my position effectively have no civil rights and we are denied many fundamental human rights. We were betrayed by the GRA and betrayed by those trans* activists who worked with the last Labour government and steered this through. Shame on them! I know with certainty that history will judge them far less favourably than such time that the GRA became law and they were collecting their citizenship awards.

Would it be considered acceptable if discrimination was applied towards other sections of society? Where protection from racial discrimination applied to black people but not to Asians? Where protection from age discrimination did not apply to anyone over 70? Where sex discrimination legislation only protected men? Why therefore should it be considered acceptable or desirable that pro trans* legislation discriminates in terms of who is and who is not protected?

I recently had the opportunity to address a question to a political panel at the PinkNews Debate. My question concerned introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports and wider recognition for non-gendered people. Former Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper acknowledged that existing legislation covering trans* issues needed reviewing. I am therefore extremely dismayed that there is no reference to the issues I raised in your PinkNews article. There is a brief reference to intersex but, as I needed to explain to the panel during debate, non-gendered and intersex do not have the same meaning. The very worst thing that could happen is that provision for those outside the gendered societal structure is strictly allocated depending on a medical diagnosis of intersex, which would exclude most of the people who actually require the provision. It is furthermore pathologising the issue at a time when gendered trans* people are finally moving towards depathologisation. Provision of ‘X’ Passports and other necessary documentation without inappropriate gendered references (eg. driving licence, NHS medical card, national insurance number etc.) should be on a basis of need and not whether a medical professional declares an individual is intersex and therefore ‘deserving’. Otherwise the Labour Party has learned nothing from its past mistakes.

Regards

Christie Elan-Cane

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Mar. 23rd, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure


CLIFFORD CHANCE SUBMITS REPORT TO HM PASSPORT OFFICE CALLING FOR NON GENDER-SPECIFIC X PASSPORTS

International law firm Clifford Chance today issued a press release announcing the submission of its report to HM Passport Office that questions the UK government decision to reject proposals for the issuance of X Passports to those who require non gender-specific documentation.

The firm is challenging the government’s position on the basis of current UK human rights and equality legislation.

http://www.cliffordchance.com/news/news/2015/03/clifford-chance-submits-report-to-hm-passport-office-calling-for.html

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Mar. 20th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



‘X’ PASSPORTS RAISED AT DEBATE

Yesterday I was invited to present the question “Would your party commit to immediately introducing non gender-specific 'X' passports, and what will you do to address the wider issues facing lack of legal recognition for non-gendered people in the UK?” to the panel at PinkNews Debate.

I was then invited by Chair Evan Davis to elaborate more on the background and the purpose of the ‘X’ Passport before the panel responded to my question.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett responded with a definite “Yes” and advised that a motion had been passed at conference and was recognised as “a very important issue”.

UKIP Culture Spokesperson Peter Whittle was non-committal and unsure about the “technical” aspect of ‘X’ passports although responded positively when I asked him directly whether he believed that legitimate identity is a fundamental right.

Liberal Democrat Party Chief Whip Don Foster’s response was definitely “Yes” as he went on to inform me about the Early Day Motion tabled before Parliament and the work of minister Simon Hughes MP. I pointed out that Simon Hughes is my local MP and I am aware of the EDM that now has 76 signatures, although did not have enough time to explain that I was consulted during drafting of the text when EDM was originally tabled by Simon Hughes during the last parliamentary session and subsequently re-tabled by Julian Huppert MP in the last session before its third run in this session, having been tabled again by Julian Huppert. Unfortunately I was off mike at the time and YouTube viewers would not have heard the full exchange. But a good response and moving forward.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper’s response was that the Labour Party recognised that existing legislation was out of date and that the issues I raise would be part of an overall trans* review that would be conducted if the Labour Party were to return to power. Made the right overtures but, having been there before, I do not see the need for another proposed “review”. Would HM Passport Office be tasked again to conduct another sham review on ‘X’ passports? Given Labour’s shameful record on this issue while in office (remember the ID card scheme?), I listened with caution although I do believe the party now has some basic grasp of the wider issue. EDM 47 has received good support from Labour Party backbench MPs however remains to be seen whether ‘X’ passports and provision within a wider sense would be “looked at” or acted upon.

Unfortunately the Conservative Party representative on the panel, Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Leader of the House of Lords, acknowledging this as an “important topic”, appeared to have a very thin grasp of the issues and not clear about the definitions, or differences between, non-gendered and intersex. She was unwilling to deliver an affirmative response and indicated the issues needed to be looked at more thoroughly essentially in order to protect individuals who might actually want to travel with an ‘X’ Passport, and effectively repeating HM Passport Office’s extremely patronising and insulting negative inference that being deprived of documentation that accurately reflects a non-gendered person’s identity (or at least does not misrepresent through the misappropriation of gendered references) is all really for our own benefit. My response? Just watch the YouTube video!

Participation in the debate was generally a positive experience given that I did get to raise the points I was there to raise and more. One day closer towards equality but a long, long and dedicated road ahead – but just think back to where we were ten years ago and completely off the political radar. The rest of the debate concerned mainly LGB issues and more generic issues that affect almost everyone (eg. housing) with a few surprises occurring during the evening.

The event was streamed live on YouTube – I present my question at about 01:14:30 into the recording https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b2L6nZl3uo


EDM 47

Early Day Motion has just DAYS to run before end of this parliamentary session. It is still not too late to approach your local MP and urge their support for the motion
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47

I have spent the last few weeks sending out thousands of emails (literally) and making telephone calls to parliamentary offices of several MPs in an effort to garner more support and achieve the 100+ signatures that was my target. I have some further undertakings and assurances that more signatures will follow within the coming days but whether they materialise in time to make the count remains to be seen.

This has been a time consuming and exhausting exercise that nonetheless generated a positive outcome as the EDM count started to rise after a lengthy malaise that saw minimal increase over a period of weeks since the beginning of the calendar year. There will be a further written account on this site after the current session ends that will include the names of MPs who acknowledged yet refused to sign the motion. But not too late to act – if your MP is dithering, contact them again and strongly urge they support the motion (the final chance to not be on the wrong side of history)!

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

Mar. 5th, 2015

CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



EARLY DAY MOTION 47 REACHES 70!

The signature count for EDM No. 47 has now reached 70!!

Finally, some might say, but this is an outstanding achievement given the unwillingness of government and policy makers to acknowledge this issue for a number of years.

The perception of our fight for legitimate identity was for too long dismissed as being essentially a non issue – non-gendered identity was assumed to be a dedicated lifestyle choice where we were held in some way responsible for our predicament and treated as such. That false but rather convenient perception has much diminished, and one day society will look back with shame that the undermining of our fundamental right of legitimate identity – taken for granted by the gendered majority within society – continues to this day.

EDM 47 was tabled early in this parliamentary session by Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrat: Cambridge).

Time is running out as this annual parliamentary session draws to an early close due to upcoming general election and not long to act. Parliament will be dissolved on 30 March 2015 although may be prorogued (the point that all EDMs lapse) a few days beforehand.

If EDM can get to 100+ (or near as dammit!) then I will push for a parliamentary debate to take place in the next parliamentary session, but we urgently need more signatures before end of this term.

If your MP is not on the list of signatories then approach them NOW as a constituent and urge their support for the motion. Your MP is there to represent your interests at a national level.

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered