Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
A reminder the Identity and Passport Service are due to conclude their highly secretive internal policy “review” regarding whether or not to introduce non gender-specific passports to the United Kingdom. The introduction of ‘X’ as a non gender-specific option under the ‘sex’ data field would bring the UK into line with Australia and New Zealand along with other countries that have recognised the need to make provision for those who cannot identify as male or female.
‘In support of ‘X’ passports in the United Kingdom’
The petition will be presented in the New Year before the IPS sign off and hand their findings and recommendations over to the government where ministers get to have the final say.
The IPS should be in no doubt the strength of feeling on this issue and we still need unfortunately to educate the majority of ministers – as the rest of society needs to be informed – of the need for provision, and that accuracy and respect in terms of how an individual’s identity is reflected in documentation and records held by others is a human rights issue.
The enforcement of gendered classification through inappropriate gendered references is denying legitimacy to identity that is neither male nor female.
Therefore I urge once more to those who have not already done so to sign the petition –
As referenced before on this site, the New Zealand passport authorities have recently revised a policy that was already liberal by most standards (including the UK and whole of Europe). It is now possible for any NZ citizen to apply for ‘X’ passport if the application is backed with a signed statutory declaration document. Details on NZ Department of Internal Affairs website http://www.passports.govt.nz/Transgender-applicants>.
The downside is the online passport application form still requires applicants to state whether they are male or female (no reference to “unspecified” option) – which rather defeats the object and reflects a misunderstanding of the issues somewhere along the line – even in a place of enlightenment. I am awaiting clarification on this point from NZ.
‘Legal protection for all trans* and intersex in the UK’
A final word to remind about another ongoing petition. I’ve not decided on presentation date but again I urge all who really care about these issues to sign this petition.
The recent government reshuffle brought about a change of ministerial responsibility for delivery of last year’s government action plan on trans* equality http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/equalities/lgbt-equality-publications/transgender-action-plan?view=Binary. I am sorry that Lynne Featherstone has been moved from the role of Equalities Minister with the position now handed over to ministerial representatives with no obvious background or profile on speaking up for trans* issues . The Government Equalities Office is now under the auspices of the Department for culture, media and sport (!).
The DCMS have failed to respond to a Written Parliamentary Question tabled by Simon Hughes MP in September that concerned progress to date on implementing the trans* action plan. The WPQ was tabled originally to the Home Secretary prior to responsibility transfer to DCMS.
I believe the team at the GEO are committed to the action plan and I do not want to appear overly pessimistic but there is much that is giving cause for concern at the moment. On the plus side, I have noted (an appearance of) less compulsory requirement to answer the offensive question of whether one is male or female, but there remains an overall uphill battle when commercial organisations often resolutely refuse to remove this offensive question because it serves as a marketing tool within their business strategy and these organisations do not tend to regard as significant the rights of non-gendered people – either when it comes to respecting our need to be appropriately identified or in terms of non-gendered having equal access to goods and services. But tackling discrimination against non-gendered trans* from the commercial sector was not integrated into the plan, the GEO opting instead for a “voluntary” approach that is obviously not working.
The wider LGB&T initiative was certainly no red herring – and, as a consequence, gendered transpeople should not be forced to choose whether to remain married or divorce in order to gain certificate of legal recognition under current government proposals for enabling same sex marriage. But this benefit was consequential – a by-product – of new legislation drafted to benefit LG&B.
I have seen no word on how (proposals for) same sex marriage will affect members of society who cannot conform into either gendered role – and I even heard that “husband” and “wife” would be retained in the draft legal text, although this could be the media misreporting of the facts.
And, although the government’s proposals started out with a highly publicised public consultation on the introduction of CIVIL marriage that has somehow morphed into an issue entirely dominated by religion and the ‘rights’ of various churches to perform or not to perform same sex wedding ceremonies, there remains the issue of appropriate documentation. A non-gendered person would still be forced to compromise in order to register a marriage or civil partnership because the requisite items accepted for proof of identity retain inappropriate gendered references. So how the fuck does any of this benefit me?????
Are we – were we ever – on the verge of a brave new dawn or were we cruelly misled into believing there was an intention to improve the quality of non-gendered lives? Because, right now, and – I repeat – without being overly pessimistic, I am beginning to wonder whether these initiatives will only serve to benefit LGB (&T who can be integrated within the gendered societal structure) while the most marginalized will end up getting SHAFTED!!! Sound familiar? Yes, to anyone who can remember the previous ‘brave new dawn’ offered by those who were pressing for change in the closing years of an earlier millennium – and we ended up with the GRA (2004).
Click here to sign this petition http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/legal-protection-for-all-trans-and-intersex-in-the-uk.html
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
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