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Nov. 29th, 2016

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



BACK TO BUSINESS – AT LAST!

I am finally back online after an unacceptably prolonged disruption of broadband service provision. I have not had access to my emails for three weeks and it will take some time to get through the backlog but I’m making progress. If you have tried to contact me during this period then I will respond eventually. I do not believe that any messages were lost.

The disruption was due to the fact that my partner and I had just moved home. I had informed our service provider British Telecommunications (BT) three weeks ahead of the move and an engineer appointment was scheduled in order to connect our property. We were allocated a new number for the new address. It was not until three days after we moved to the new address (and I called BT because the engineer had not shown up within the scheduled timeframe) that BT informed me that our new property and the building in which it is located were not connected to the telecoms exchange. That was the beginning of what often appeared to be a David versus Goliath battle of wills to get BT to do the work and provide a service. Even more galling is that BT are solely responsible for installing the cabling in place to connect properties to the telecoms exchange network.

But back to business – at last!


Parliamentary Debate on UK Government response to Trans* Equality Report

A parliamentary debate on the Government Response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s ‘Transgender Equality’ Report published in January of this year will take place on Thursday 1 December 2016. More info can be found here.

This debate was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee following a representation from MPs Maria Miller, Ruth Cadbury and Angela Crawley.


USA: ‘X’ Passport legal case victory

On Tuesday 22 November a court in Denver, CO ruled that the U.S. State Department had violated federal law when it denied a passport to Dana Zzyym, a U.S. citizen and Navy veteran who is intersex. The State Department denied Dana’s passport application because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the application form. More can be found here.


EDM 11

A further reminder to everyone who cares about this issue to contact your MP and urge them to sign EDM 11 in support of ‘X’ Passports in the UK.

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

Oct. 27th, 2016

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



Introduction of gender-neutral public announcements on London’s transport network

Regular travellers on London’s tube network might have noticed by now that new public announcements are being rolled out to replace the ubiquitous “Ladies and Gentlemen ……” with the more inclusive “Customers ……” or “Passengers ……”

Transport for London (TfL) management responded positively to my approach and suggestion that public announcements throughout the tube network should use gender-neutral terms.

I had noticed there was not much discernible change after a period of six months and followed-up to question how the change was being implemented. I was pleasantly surprised.

TfL management does understand the significance of the issue and the aim is not just to introduce gender-neutral public announcements on the tube but to establish continuity across London’s entire transport network, incorporating bus services where drivers are employed by other operators under TfL jurisdiction.

This represents an organisational change where ongoing training and guidance will be provided across the TfL organisation in order that employees become familiar with the new announcements. Some staff members have worked with the organisation for more than 20 years and need to acclimatise to the new terminology however new staff will receive appropriate guidance from the outset and eventually all TfL public announcements will be gender neutral.

I’d like feedback on your experiences traveling on TfL.

Write to Christie.Elan-Cane@ukgateway.net and let me know which areas, stations etc. are getting it right and where TfL needs to improve. This is a fact finding and not a name and shame exercise.

Your name and details will not be forwarded to TfL.


EDM 11

Don’t forget to contact your MP and urge their support for ‘X’ Passports. The aim is still to exceed 100 signatures in time for a parliamentary debate to be called before end of this session.

MP signatories to date.


Life Beyond Bizarre!

Don’t forget to read my latest blog on HuffPost UK. Events that led to the start of my campaign for legitimate identity as a fundamental human right. Far more bitter than sweet.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Life Beyond Bizarre!

Just a quick note that my latest blog can be found on HuffPost UK


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Introduction of gender-neutral public announcements on London’s tube network

Last December I reported that Transport for London (TfL) had responded positively after I approached its senior management with the suggestion that the ubiquitous “Ladies and Gentlemen……...” customer announcements should be replaced by gender-neutral terms of address throughout its tube network.

TfL management explained that neutral announcements would be phased in and that the first noticeable change would be in ‘live’ announcements where it was just a matter of announcers using neutral terms such as such as “Customers……...” or “Passengers……...”.

Theoretically this was all fine but as often happens did not move smoothly into practice and after several months I had not noticed any discernible difference. I am admittedly not a regular traveller on the network however during the times I have used the service the only neutral announcements I heard were ‘live’ at my local station which does manage to get it right some but not all of the time.

I relayed my concerns about the lack of progress back to TfL management and the organisation is genuinely anxious to progress with ‘live’ announcements and bring consistency across the network.

I’d like to hear whether anyone has experienced a noticeable change in TfL tube network customer announcements. In particular I’d like to know whether there are any particular stations where gender-neutral announcements have become standard practice, whether there is some change or none at all. I will stress this is a fact finding mission and not a name-and-shame exercise.

Feedback on TfL’s implementation of gender-neutral announcements should be sent to
Christie.Elan-Cane@ukgateway.net

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure




‘X’ PASSPORTS IN THE UK

The ultimate purpose of a current survey of ICAO member states referenced in my earlier post remains unclear. However………

It certainly does appear that HM Passport Office (HMPO) took full advantage of time afforded after the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s first inquiry on the subject of ‘Transgender Equality’ was announced on 27 July 2015 in the knowledge that its activities could not be subject to scrutiny.

There is a risk that non gender-specific ‘X’ might be removed from ICAO Document 9303 – the internationally accepted specification for machine readable travel documents – if HMPO reports back to the ICAO in December 2016 that the majority of member states do not support the inclusion of a non gender-specific option under the mandatory ‘Sex’ data field.

The ICAO has already formally agreed to put HMPO’s findings forward for implementation.

The objective behind HMPO’s survey could be uncharacteristically benign, such as HMPO aiming to secure agreement among ICAO member states that international obligations are upheld and that travellers with an ‘X’ Passport are allowed equal rights of passage upon arrival at member states’ national border control as benefitted by other travellers. However………

HMPO has an extremely poor record in this respect. The organisation’s senior policy directors are known to be overtly and singularly hostile towards ‘X’ Passports.

The Response from Government to the Select Committee Report makes its position very clear on Page 23 “We maintain the need for gender to be gathered at the point of application and included in the passport chip to assist law enforcement and border agencies.”.

I am not commenting further or advocating a particular course of action until there is clarity.

I hope to be able to provide an update in due course concerning the legal case that has been pending against the discriminatory passport policy administered by HMPO in the UK.


EDM 11

Parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) 11 is the fifth motion to be tabled by MPs over four consecutive sessions calling upon the UK Government to change its discriminatory policy on ‘X’ Passports.

EDM 660 in the last session was supported by 100 MPs but the target figure was reached on the final day of parliamentary session and too late for a debate to be called.

Each motion has built upon and exceeded the support of earlier motions therefore I am reasonably confident that EDM 11 can achieve 100 signatures in this session and with enough time to call for a debate despite the ensuing chaos that has engulfed politics and the whole country in recent months.

As anyone who has followed me on this site should know, EDMs have no executive powers and a widely supported EDM does not automatically guarantee a parliamentary debate.

EDMs are an extremely useful mechanism to raise the profile of issues that otherwise would be ignored. It is a significant achievement to get 100+ MPs to support an EDM and this will have been noted. To that extent the tabling of successive EDMs has been highly successful.

I am appealing again to everyone who cares about this issue. Contact your MP and strongly urge them to sign EDM 11 in support of ‘X’ Passports. You can find your MP’s details here.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



‘X’ PASSPORTS IN THE UK

The UK Government has finally issued its response to trans* equality report published in January.

It would appear the UK Government has put measures in place where the intention is to persuade the ICAO to remove completely the non gender-specific ‘X’ option from its data specification for machine readable travel documents.

An aggressive and sinister move that, should it succeed, erases for the foreseeable future any possibility of the UK following the lead taken by countries with more progressive social policies in place. The UK Government would also be responsible for the removal of an existing right accorded to citizens of those countries by their own governments.

I am not commenting further at this moment.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



UPDATE

EDM 11 tabled by Norman Lamb MP on 18 May 2016 had almost 50 MP signatures before referendum recess and I will continue to work to achieve the 100+ signature objective and then I can push for a full parliamentary debate on X’ PASSPORTS before end of 2016-17 Session.

Recent events indicate a general election will almost certainly be triggered at some point during the parliamentary session. There is going to be a considerable amount of disruption throughout the session and it will be extremely difficult to focus MPs’ minds on ‘X’ PASSPORTS.

I cannot see trans* issues as figuring high on anyone’s priority list for the foreseeable future and foresee that a full Government response to recommendations made by Select Committee in ‘Transgender Equality’ Report will be kicked into the long grass and hope that I am wrong.

In the meantime here is my Brexit blog published today on Huffington Post UK 

Brexit: It’s Really Not Too Late


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



‘X’ PASSPORTS IN THE UK

More than 30 MPs have added their signature to EDM 11 in support of ‘X’ PASSPORTS so far.

EDM 11 is on course to exceed 100+ signatures before close of 2016-17 Session and in time for a full parliamentary debate to be called.

‘X’ PASSPORTS were raised in a Topical Questions Debate in Parliament on 26 May where Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan’s non-committal answer was subsequently challenged by Women and Equalities Select Committee Chair Maria Miller MP who further raised the ongoing delay of a Government response to the Committee’s ‘Transgender Equality’ Report published January 2016.

Speaker John Bercow described the minister’s evasive response as “a very tardy response indeed” and “really not very satisfactory” urging for a Government response before the summer recess.

Interesting also to note Maria Miller’s comment that the Report is now five months old. This would imply the Government had access to the completed report ahead of its public release in January 2016.

I will keep the site posted as further details become available.

This is quite a long post and essentially urging everyone who cares about this issue to stay with me and keep reading……………


UK CENSUS 2021

I tried very hard to no avail to persuade ONS to include an alternative option to ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ before the last census was rolled out. I understand that Census 2021 will be conducted entirely online with the effect that respondents who find themselves excluded from the process cannot express their disaffection despite the legal requirement to return the questionnaire.

THIS was how I communicated my need for an alternative option when I returned the questionnaire the last time around. Not sure how I can do that again if the form can only be completed online!

I understand from recent news reports that ONS has finally acknowledged that the population does not all fit neatly into its male or female gendered boxes and is now considering change for Census 2021. I would like to believe that my gesture of questionnaire vandalism the last time around might even have raised the profile of the issue and helped to move things along in some small way. The current detail for Census 2021 is predictably vague and whispers of change might eventually amount to nothing.

I will find a method to submit an appropriate response to a question that is deeply inappropriate to people who define as neither ‘Male’ nor ‘Female’ despite the limitations of online technology if lazy and unimaginative ONS mandarins attempt to force me to deny my non-gendered identity again.


Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds has acknowledged that not everyone can be pigeonholed into ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ but somehow managed to get it spectacularly WRONG in what has been suggested as an attempt to be accommodative.

The Lloyds proposal, if I am understanding this correctly, is that two sets of bank cards and account details will be issued to the customer, one set for ‘M’ and the other set for ‘F’.

While the proposal might be acceptable to customers who define themselves as gender-fluid (an identity where the gender can oscillate between male and female), a ‘provision’ that enables an account holder to be identified as either ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ dependent upon how the individual happens to be presenting at the time is MOST DEFINITELY NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR NON-GENDERED CUSTOMERS.

The non-gendered identity is CONSTANT and the identity is NEITHER male nor female. Neither ‘M’ nor ‘F’ are appropriate. Period. Is that so very hard to understand??

I do not want one inappropriate gendered reference on my personal details so why the hell would I ever want two sets of details with two inappropriate gendered references???

I am dumbfounded and I find it profoundly disturbing that one of the UK’s leading corporations that has policies that support ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ can nonetheless demonstrate such a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue.

But keep reading…………… the following items might possibly shed some light……………


IPSO

I do not want to waste too much more of my time on this tiresome episode however will briefly draw attention to recent ruling from the UK’s un-independent press standards watchdog IPSO.

The ruling was predictably not upheld in my favour despite the validity of my complaint against an offensive, misleading and highly irresponsible commentary item published by The Spectator.

Readers might be baffled by the extensive wordiness of IPSO’s summary of the complaint. The explanation is that IPSO was not willing to accommodate into its summary the non gender-specific [third person singular] pronoun I’ve adopted and used for more than 20 years on the grounds the pronoun PER” is not yet in common usage and therefore “could make the decision confusing for those who had not previously encountered the word, and affect their understanding of the [IPSO Complaints] Committee’s findings”.

Anyone who has read the vile piece of trash that caused me to register a complaint could not have failed to note there was a direct reference to my non gender-specific pronoun in the piece and the derogatory reference to my pronoun was included in my complaint. IPSO’s summary of the complaint even reproduced the section that contained the reference to my pronoun. Therefore I’m not sure how anyone reading the summary could not have encountered PER” and not understood its significance.

I would advise those who care about this issue not to bother reading the piece but I would urge you to tune in and listen to the PODCAST that accompanies it. The offending commentator behind the piece discusses the ‘Transgender Equality’ Report with Jacqui Gavin, vice chair of the trans* civil service network a:gender.

The a:gender spokesperson, an awarded LGBT “Diversity Champion” no less, appears to demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the need for ‘X’ PASSPORTS which she dismisses as a having a “non marker” along with a dismissive description of those “in the middle ground” who have “totally different issues” to those who “journey from one gender to the other” and who “historically want to be identified”. I believe I have quoted accurately and caught the essence of what was said in the conversation.

Gavin’s confusion of the issues in what would appear to be an inability to distinguish and differentiate between non-gendered and gender-fluid identities is lamentable. Her lack of appreciation that there is a need for ‘X’ PASSPORTS is demonstrable however.

I am being generous here only because I honestly cannot say whether Gavin’s dismissive attitude towards the need for non gender-specific documentation is due to a lack of mental capacity to comprehend the definition of non-gendered identity or just another example of bigotry that I’ve learned to associate with the a:gender leadership’s desire to oppress trans* identities that cannot be defined in terms of male and female.

Either way, I find her comments inappropriate, offensive and extremely worrying given that this is an individual who acts as an advisor to governing, public and corporate organisations.

What Jacqui Gavin is saying effectively is that she does not support the provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS for those who need non gender-specific documentation because she would not want one for herself.

She does not accept that non-gendered people have also experienced and gone through an incredible journey that has no legitimate endpoint within gendered society. And who is she to indicate that others whose journeys might not have been as straightforward as her “journey from one gender to the other” do not want to be identified? I have been fighting for more than 20 years to be able to exercise my fundamental right to be correctly identified!


Trans* Equality: The Enemy Within

I’ve expressed concern about a:gender several times on the site in recent months and I shall continue to raise alarm bells about the organisation all the while its senior members’ personal prejudices exert undue influence over parliamentarians and senior policy decision makers in a manner that undermines and erodes the principle of legitimate identity as a fundamental human right. An individual’s identity should be respected whether that identity is non-gendered, bi-gendered or fluid. The a:gender leadership is averse to the fundamental principle and as a collective does not want to extend legitimacy with clear enforceable civil rights to trans* people whose identities do not conform within the established societal norms that a:gender seeks to uphold.

I return to ‘X’ PASSPORTS. As the profile of the issue has been raised and there is a clear and evident need for non gender-specific documentation for people who define as neither male nor female, it is essential that serious questions are asked and an investigation conducted into the sham passport policy review that took place as part of the trans* equality action plan, the former coalition government’s blueprint undertaking to improve the lives of trans* people in the UK. The plan was indeed “all plan and no action”. As the Women and Equalities Select Committee more or less concurred in its ’Transgender Equality’ ReportThe 2011 Advancing Transgender Equality action plan remains largely unimplemented”.

The passport policy ‘review’ conducted by HM Passport Office (HMPO, formerly the Identity and Passport Service, (IPS)) was a deliberate sham under the pretext that a genuine internal policy review was taking place. The intention was that ‘X’ PASSPORTS should be buried and the fundamental needs of those who require non gender-specific identification swept under the carpet

The provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS was and remains an essential conduit towards wider provision and social acceptance for people whose identities are neither male nor female.

The burial of ‘X’ PASSPORTS, similar to ONS’ earlier rejection of my proposal for a third census option, would further condemn trans* people whose identities are neither male nor female to an invisible existence on the margins of society, denied legitimate identity, denied essential provisions and excluded from the societal mainstream where gender is a precursor to participation. IPS’ denial of any requirement for ‘X’ PASSPORTS was extremely cruel and the intention was to silence a section of the trans* population that already had no voice.

My former MP eventually forced the publication of a review outcome report. The shambolic and hastily cobbled together document that emerged some months later makes clear to independent observers there was no proper review. The whole exercise had been a sham.

Here is the HMPO publication that remains in the parliamentary Library. Readers will note there was just one stakeholder objection to ‘X’ PASSPORTS. Three stakeholders are referenced in the document as having been consulted by IPS whereas in reality there were only two stakeholders. I am referenced in the document as a stakeholder and yet IPS did not consult with me at all. I made several attempts to engage with IPS and these attempts were curtly rebutted by IPS civil servants. I had no discussions with IPS at any time throughout the ‘review’ period. The quotes attributed to me in the document were directly lifted from the introductory text of an online petition that I activated in October 2012. The petition is still running and anyone interested enough can cross reference the petition against HMPO’s ridiculous document for themselves. HMPO did not even bother to remove the pasted invite to sign my petition from its text (Page 10/15).

The only stakeholder that raised objection to ‘X’ PASSPORTS in the HMPO document was a:gender (Page 9/15) where its representative Sarah Rapson cites as justification for retaining a discriminatory policy that “many transgender people use the passport as evidence of their acquired gender”. Again there was a fundamental failure to engage on the issue because non gender-specific documentation is not something that a:gender’s senior membership would want for themselves.

What is not made clear by Sarah Rapson is that:

  • The ‘Sex’ category (not gender) cannot be removed from either the passport or the passport application form because ‘Sex’ is currently a mandatory data field in accordance with international regulations for machine readable travel documents. The UK Government has no powers to remove the field and I have never suggested the field should be completely removed;

  • There was no suggestion from campaigners that ‘X’ should be forced upon all trans* people. The proposed policy for the introduction of ‘X’ PASSPORTS was always that an application for ‘X’ should be entirely voluntary as occurs in Australia and New Zealand;

  • The document refers to Sarah Rapson (at the time of writing the report, 2014) as “the transgender champion on behalf of the Home Office and regularly engages with a: gender” however the document fails to mention that Sarah Rapson was also the IPS Chief Executive Officer at the time the sham ‘review’ was conducted (between 2012-13) and held the position right up until April 2013 when my former MP was informed there were no plans for ‘X’ PASSPORTS to be issued in the UK. She was transferred to another senior executive position within the Home Office just one week after the letter was sent to my MP. I fail to see how the Chief Executive of IPS can also be called upon as a stakeholder.


As I’ve said before on many occasions, there are SERIOUS OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS concerning the credibility and the integrity of HM Passport Office’s purported policy ‘review’. There was no intention to move forward with proposals to permit the provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS in the UK. The deception was supported by an unelected consortium of trans* people who act as key advisers and influencers yet reveal themselves as bigoted and uninformed. The a:gender leadership has a distorted version of the trans* narrative that would put all trans* people into boxes marked ‘M’ or ‘F’ and they exercise far too much power over other trans* peoples’ lives.

Reminder, I try to update the site frequently as news is made available however advise you to follow me on Twitter for the most up-to-the-minute information.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



NEW EARLY DAY MOTION TABLED IN PARLIAMENT

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb has tabled a new parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) on 18 May 2016, the first day of the new 2016-17 Session. EDM 11 will build upon and hopefully surpass the support expressed for EDM 660 that was signed by 100 MPs (and supported by many more) at close of the last session.

That this House recognises the support expressed during the 2015-16 parliamentary session to address the issues faced by people whose identities are neither male nor female; believes that people are 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 British passport that contains no reference to gendered identity; understands that the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard specification for machine-readable travel documents, ICAO Document 9303, permits X (unspecified) alongside F (female) and M (male) under a mandatory sex category; notes that citizens of Australia and New Zealand are able to obtain a non gender-specific X passport and that India, Nepal and Pakistan make provision for their citizens when neither M nor F are appropriate; further believes that similar provision is needed in the UK where current discriminatory policy 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 in the UK to people who do not identify with a particular gender.


This is the fifth EDM tabled by various MPs over four consecutive parliamentary sessions calling upon the UK Government to accord the fundamental right of legitimate identity to people who are failed by current governmental practice of defining, categorising and legislating in accordance to gender, a section whose existence has historically been ignored by governing bodies and policy makers, a section that until very recently had no voice and a section that remains socially invisible without basic civil rights.

We are asking for legitimate identity that others can take for granted. As more people become aware of this issue it is evident there is a broad consensus of injustice that an individual’s life and life chances are ruined because of who they are and how they define. It is evident that HM Passport Office’s discriminatory policy is unsustainable. The Women and Equalities Select Committee has called upon the UK Government to introduce ‘X’ PASSPORTS as a necessary provision. Preparations are ongoing to launch a case for judicial review against HM Passport Office’s discriminatory policy.

11 MPs are signatories to EDM 11 just two days after tabling and, unlike EDM 660, there is time for EDM 11 to reach 100+ signatures during rather than at the end of the current parliamentary session. At that point there will be calls for a parliamentary debate if HM Passport Office’s discriminatory policy remains in place. The pressure will be on the Government and support for this issue is strong.

All MPs should be encouraged to support EDM 11. Again I am asking everyone who cares about this issue to contact their representative MP and urge them to support the motion.

If all MPs voted independently on the provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS today – I am certain we would win.

We have the right to expect the UK Government to act and demand that HM Passport Office amends its discriminatory policy that forces non-gendered people to accept inappropriate and unwanted gendered references on personal identity documentation, forces people whose identities are neither male nor female to deny their identity or lose the freedom to travel along with other benefits associated with the passport as a generic identification document and forces people to become unwilling colluders in and compounders of their own social invisibility.

I do not expect to still be fighting the UK Government for my ‘X’ PASSPORT this time next year.

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

May. 16th, 2016

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



100 MP SIGNATORIES EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR A MOTION THAT CALLS UPON THE UK GOVERNMENT FOR PROVISION OF NON GENDER-SPECIFIC ‘X’ PASSPORTS FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT DEFINE AS EITHER MALE OR FEMALE

A MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT AND HM PASSPORT OFFICE’S DISCRIMINATORY POLICY IS EVIDENTLY UNSUSTAINABLE


EARLY DAY MOTION (EDM) 660 was tabled in November 2015 by Norman Lamb MP (Liberal Democrats: North Norfolk). The fourth in a series of EDMs tabled by MPs over the last three parliamentary sessions. I approached Norman Lamb late in the day and I was, to be honest, doubtful whether the 100+ target of MP signatures could be achieved within the timescale before close of 2015-16 session. The predecessor EDM 47 was tabled very early in the previous session and signed by 80 MPs which was incredible given that ‘X’ PASSPORTS and the wider surrounding issue were still very much under the radar at the beginning of this decade. The purpose of EDMs was keep the issue ‘alive’ within the political arena after it became evident the government was determined to close it down. EDM 660 successfully built upon support for the issue expressed by MPs in previous sessions. The 2015-16 session closed last week and EDM 660 had 100 MP signatures on the register – going right to the wire and it does appear the signatory register was closed earlier than scheduled because some signatures that I’d been reliably advised were in the system did not filter through. Nonetheless the target was achieved and everyone who helped to make it happen can be proud.

I profoundly thank all MPs who added their signature to the motion. You are all very much on THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY!

I want to acknowledge the motion was supported by the late Harry Harpham MP whose signature was removed from the EDM 660 signatory register following his death earlier this year. And note the actual number of signatories to EDM 660 tabled in the 2015-16 parliamentary session is 101.

I want to express my sincere and deepest thanks to the legion of parliamentary support staff who responded so positively to my approaches and often personally ensured EDM 660 got the attention of MPs. I thoroughly appreciate all your support and help over the last few weeks and months.

Many thanks to all the bloggers and tweeters spreading the word and, finally, a big thank-you to everyone who contacted their local parliamentary representative to encourage support for the motion (I appreciate this is daunting for some people and that responses can be unprofessional and extremely disheartening).


BREAKDOWN

100 signatures – breakdown of signatories and political parties:

Scottish National Party: 46
Labour Party: 37
Liberal Democrats: 5
Conservative Party: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic and Labour Party: 2
Ulster Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Independent MP: 2

Ministers, shadow cabinet, PPS etc. do not sign EDMs (and some backbench MPs choose not to sign EDMs, which is not helpful given the significance of EDMs in raising the consciousness of important issues that would otherwise be ignored). The EDMs were fundamental in keeping ‘X’ PASSPORTS ‘alive’ within the parliamentary arena after the government attempted to bury the need for their introduction. ‘X’ PASSPORTS are, as anyone who has followed my campaign should be aware, symbolic to the much wider surrounding issue of the social exclusion experienced by people who do not identify as either male or female within a gendered societal structure. The issue has been ignored by successive governments for decades as general policy and the entire legislative framework is bound within gendered terminology that supports and reinforces the notion of gender to the detriment of those who do not and cannot define their identity as either male or female.

Due to the anomalies it is not possible to get an accurate breakdown percentage of support within the main parties compared against overall parliamentary representation. It is nonetheless evident that the Scottish National Party are key allies. The Labour Party also generally supports the motion. I will mention here that some Labour backbencher signatories to EDM 47 in 2014-15 session are now in the Shadow Cabinet and have sent messages expressing ongoing support. The Liberal Democrats continue to support although with drastically reduced number of MPs (and the EDM was tabled by a LibDem MP). 100% support for the issue from Plaid Cymru and Green Party within Parliament. Good to see support emerging from Social Democratic and Labour Party and Ulster Unionist Party. The Conservative Party’s low figure was predictable and the three Conservative Party signatures were much appreciated. I must point out again there are a number of MPs who do not sign EDMs and many of these are in the governing party. I have had messages of support from Conservative MPs.

There is a hardcore element hovering around the parliamentary circles who will never accept non-gendered people as human beings with the same unequivocal right to legitimate identity as anyone else – although they were never elected to represent. See Trans* Equality: The Enemy Within.

And there is another EDM on the way!

Follow me on Twitter for latest updates on the progress of this important issue!

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

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