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Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the societal gender system





Automated patient check-in facility at my local health care centre:


It was a routine GP appointment at my local health care practice in March 2007 that first alerted me to an automated installation at the practice, a facility for patients to announce their arrival without having to queue at the reception.


When I tried to use the facility, I was confronted with an inappropriate (and insulting) request to state whether I was male or female. The system would not allow me to bypass this question and I was unable to use the facility.


I made a complaint initially to the GP and, on his advice, wrote to the practice manager. The practice manager suggested I approach the contractor who provided the facility and were responsible for software design. I began a series of correspondence with this company but it was very apparent from their arrogant responses that I was wasting my time dealing directly with them. I complained to the local NHS healthcare authority, Southwark Primary Care Trust (Equalities and Diversity section). Not much response initially with no obvious sign my complaint was being treated seriously. 


I wrote a formal complaint to Southwark PCT in January 2008 and received a letter in response from the Chief Executive of the Trust. The letter informed that my complaint had resulted in a policy change and that an entire network of patient facilities was to be upgraded later in the year, starting with facility at my local healthcare practice. This was a major victory but it has taken the IT contractor until now to get around to rolling out the upgrade.


I understand the upgrade was rolled out (at my local healthcare practice at least) just immediately prior to Christmas 2008, so I suppose they were as good as their word.


I’ve been unable to find out specifically what the new check-in procedure entails, due to contacts at the practice and the PCT being on leave, but I have been informed the unnecessary requirement for patients to declare as male or female has been removed.


I have asked the PCT to keep me informed regarding the eight hundred or so other facilities that are to be similarly upgraded.


Fighting for the fundamental human right of recognition within my true identity is frequently unrewarding and depressing, but this is one example of proof that it does sometimes pay to be persistent and just do not take “No!” for an answer.



Taking this Issue to UK Parliament:


Simon Hughes MP is currently taking advice regarding the most effective way to proceed with introduction of a formal parliamentary presentation.


I am, again, not able to give any indication of a timescale. I am aware this is frustrating for everyone whose life is affected by this issue but there remains important ground work to ensure the issue is presented to secure the best effect. More information will appear as soon as possible. Keep checking this website.


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



Christie Elan-Cane

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