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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
 

May. 12th, 2016

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



EDM 660 REACHES 100 MP SIGNATURES

EARLY DAY MOTION (EDM) 660 ACHIEVED TARGET AND REACHED 100 SIGNATURES TODAY!

PROROGATION OF PARLIAMENT TAKES PLACE TODAY BRINGING THE 2015-16 SESSION TO A CLOSE.

IT IS PROBABLE THE FINAL NUMBER OF MP SIGNATORIES WILL EXCEED 100 AFTER SIGNATURES POSTED YESTERDAY ARE LOADED TO THE SYSTEM. I UNDERSTAND THERE ARE MORE ON THE WAY.

100 MP SIGNATORIES TO DATE HAVE EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR A MOTION THE CALLS UPON THE UK GOVERNMENT FOR PROVISION OF NON GENDER-SPECIFIC ‘X’ PASSPORTS.

THIS IS A MONUMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT AND IT IS EVIDENT THAT HM PASSPORT OFFICE’S DISCRIMINATORY PASSPORT POLICY IS UNSUSTAINABLE.

I WILL PROVIDE A FULL WRITE UP EARLY NEXT WEEK.

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



EDM 660 – LAST AND FINAL CALL!

Early Day Motion 660 calling for non gender-specific ‘X’ PASSPORTS in the UK has just DAYS to run and we are so close to achieving 100 signatures!

More than 90 Members have signed EDM 660 so far and on the right side of history!

It is not too late but time is fast running out!

All MPs must be strongly encouraged to support the motion!

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



EDM 660 REACHES 90 SIGNATURES!

Parliamentary Early Day Motion 660 that calls upon the UK Government for the introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ PASSPORTS has very little time to run before session close.

90 MPs have signed in support of the motion so far and we are almost there. I know for certain that more signatures are on the way and the target figure of 100+ can still be achieved.

EDMs have no legal status, a popular EDM can however significantly raise the profile of issues that would otherwise receive little parliamentary attention.

It is not too late – urge your MP to add their signature to the motion.

And if you are an MP reading this (I know for a fact there are some MPs who do!) and still not affirmed your support (shameful!) then follow your conscience and act now upon a principle of legitimate identity as a fundamental human right! Be on the RIGHT side of history!!

In the meantime:

PETITION THE GOVERNMENT

A new petition on the UK Government and Parliament website calls upon the Government to ‘Consider taking EDM 660 forward into law’.

Provision of ‘X’ Passports would require administrative rather than legislative amendment however discrimination is discrimination and HM Passport Office’s discriminatory policy is unsustainable.

As EDM 660 and earlier motions have demonstrated, many politicians agree that HM Passport Office’s discriminatory policy needs to change

At 100,000 signatures the petition “will be considered” for debate in Parliament. Let’s aim for that!

Sign Petition

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 – AND THE USA!

EARLY DAY MOTION 660

EDM 660 calling upon the UK Government to provision the issuance of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports has very little time left to run before close of session.

Once more I am urging ALL MPs who support the principle of legitimate identity as a fundamental human right to add their signature to the motion.

If you are reading this and your MP is not on the signatory list, then please CONTACT YOUR MP and request as a matter of urgency that they should add their signature to EDM 660.


TWEET PRESIDENT OBAMA

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has been a staunch LGB ally and recognises that much more needs to be done in order to advance trans* equality.

A growing number of countries that includes Australia, New Zealand and Malta now permit the issuance of passports with [sex] “unspecified” character ‘X’.

This is in accordance with international accepted standards defined within UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Document 9303.

The Women and Equalities Select Committee has strongly urged that the UK must follow and a number of MPs have signed EDM 660 that calls for ‘X’ Passports to be issued in the UK.

An earlier petition to the Whitehouse that called for provision of non gender-specific options in the US reached more than 100,000 signatures but US passport applicants are still required to declare themselves either ‘M’ or ‘F’.

The US has very strict entry requirements. Visitors from ‘friendly’ nations such as the UK are not required to obtain an entry visa but are nonetheless required to provide certain personal information in order to obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). ESTA is essential for entry into the US and applicants for ESTA are required to state whether they are male or female. There is little chance of US entry requirements changing unless the US federal administration accepts the need to make provision.

Now calling upon President Obama to push the US Department of State and its associated agencies for the fast introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports in the US and that ESTA entry system is adapted to issue and recognise non gender-specific ‘X’ documentation.

Add your voice to the call for ‘X’ Passports in the US, click on hyperlink below and retweet right now!


Retweet for ‘X’ Passports in the USA!

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




CALLING UPON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO COME THROUGH FOR ‘X’ PASSPORTS IN THE US

Calling upon President Barack Obama to push the US Department of State and its associated agencies for the fast introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports in the US right now!

Please retweet!


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




SILVER ANNIVERSARY

Last Wednesday 06 April 2016 was our Silver Anniversary. It was 06 April 1991 that my partner and I first met and, as we cannot formalise our partnership, every year we commemorate the day as our anniversary. Here are my lovely partner David’s thoughts before and after our special Anniversary.


Trans* Equality: The Enemy Within

I have campaigned for more than 20 years for legitimate identity that most people can take for granted. I do not want for the rest of my life to be spent on hold and in a state of precarious limbo while my fundamental right of equal co-existence is debated by others.

It is an unfortunate fact that certain unaccountable, faceless individuals have for some time exerted undue authority where matters pertaining to my rights are concerned.

The UK Government is due to respond shortly to the Select Committee’s recommendation that the UK must allow for the introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports and it is ESSENTIAL that the decision process is transparent and unimpeded by those with an ulterior and prejudicial interest.

Read my latest blog for HuffPost UK ‘Trans* Equality: The Enemy Within


EDM 660

Parliamentary Early Day Motion 660 has just a few more weeks to run before session close.


That this House recognises the support expressed during the last 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 that the Government and HM Passport Office make non gender-specific X passports available in the UK to people who do not identify with a particular gender.

All MPs should be encouraged to support the motion.

More to follow very soon.

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



Trans* Equality: The Enemy Within

Important!! Read my new blog posted today on HuffPost UK

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/christie-elancane/trans-equality-the-enemy-_b_9618316.html

And feel free to like and share!


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



TRANS* EQUALITY INQUIRY

All is deathly silent at the moment as Government has yet to respond to recommendations made by the Women and Equalities Select Committee in its concluding report released on 14 January 2016.

I was pleased to be invited to provide oral evidence at one of a series of panel sessions before the Committee in what turned out to be a surprisingly wide ranging inquiry that received more than 250 written submissions (although, as always the case, not all input was constructive nor supportive).

Anyone interested enough can read back through previous entries posted on this site for my comments on the report in the aftermath of its release. There are entries that go further back to when the inquiry was announced last July (appearing initially as an uninspiring tick-box exercise that would avoid any focus on the real issues). And anyone who wants to understand more about events that led up to inquiry can read further back all the way to 2008 if so inspired.

In its report the Committee made a number of recommendations that were potentially ground breaking in terms of advancing trans* ‘rights’. The Committee strongly endorsed the introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports in the UK for those who do not define as either male or female and cautiously alluded to the need for wider provision but I sense there are hidden caveats. I’ve been dealt too many blows in the past to be able to respond with anything other than cynicism.

In the meantime non-gendered people in the UK continue to wait as our ability to exercise our fundamental right to legitimate existence is debated and ultimately determined by others.


LEGAL ACTION

As those who follow this site will know, HM Passport Office’s policy that forces non-gendered people to select a gender at the point of application and then to be issued with an inappropriate gendered passport document was on course to be made subject of judicial review proceedings at the time the Committee’s inquiry was announced last year. More info can be found here.

I’m afraid this is just another ‘holding’ update and there is no further news at present other than that proceedings against HM Passport Office and its discriminatory policy are still in preparation.


EDM 660

Don’t forget to contact your local parliamentary representative and urge their support for those who need an ‘X’ Passport. Ask your MP to add their signature to EDM 660.

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

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