Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
In support of ‘X’ passports in the United Kingdom
LAST CALL – the online petition goes to the Identity and Passport Service at the end of this month!
I am thrilled that Liberal Democrat MPs Lynne Featherstone and Simon Hughes and Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP have all signed online petition in support of non gender-specific ‘X’ passports in the UK.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) have conducted a secretive internal policy review over the introduction of ‘X’ passports to the UK. The IPS review was ongoing throughout the last year with no stakeholder engagement and is due to conclude in February, at which point the IPS reports to the government with recommendations on whether the UK should make provision to ensure that passport holders who do not define as male or female are not forced to deny their identity – and have their identity denied by the authorities and the state.
The outcome could be positive in that the IPS policy makers might follow the more enlightened approach adopted by the relevant authorities of Australia and New Zealand, but a positive outcome is by no means certain and must not be taken for granted. It makes me feel very uncomfortable that a crucial decision on whether I can obtain personal ID that confirms rather than misrepresents my identity rests in the hands of a remote and faceless group of individuals – some of whom might be bigots who see no reason to change a system that works for the majority in order to accommodate a section within society who have historically been failed.
A positive decision from the IPS would pave the way and encourage other institutions to make provision for alternative categories to ‘M’ and ‘F’ in their registration processes – or to not ask the question at all – ultimately, a positive decision on ‘X’ is working towards the removal of cultural barriers that serve to oppress the existence of members of society who do not define as either male or female.
I NEED TO STRESS – this opportunity for provision of ‘X’ passports in the UK will probably not return for a very long time. It is an opportunity that must not be allowed to slip through our hands.
The final decision rests with government ministers – some of whom would probably be unlikely to reject or question a negative recommendation from the IPS, particularly if the IPS again trots out with its favourite old chestnut that the introduction of a non gender-specific passport for the benefit of UK passport holders whose identities are not represented by ‘M/F’ would compromise the national security. That ‘X’ passports for those who need them would jeopardise the security of the country is an excuse the IPS (and its previous incarnation, the UK Passport Agency) have made – over the years – again and again – an excuse that is entirely without justification but would undoubtedly satisfy those who do not want to extend legitimacy or “rights” to people who are socially invisible and have no voice.
It is imperative that the IPS and the government understand there is support for this issue – as the forced misappropriation of gender and gendered references negates the identity and debases the personal integrity of the individual and consequentially breaches the fundamental principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights (Article 1, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; UN General Assembly, 1948).
If you are personally affected by this issue – then I must urge you do not leave the fight to others – add your signature to the petition without delay!
If you care about someone who is affected by this issue – then, again, I urge you to sign the petition now!
And, if you support the principle of legitimate identity as a fundamental human right – then please sign this petition!
Trans* support groups – alert your members – and urge their support!
All – forward the petition link http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/in-support-of-‘x’-passports-in-the-united-kingdom.html to anyone who might sign!
To everyone who has already signed the petition – and to those who have worked to spread the message – thank-you, your support is appreciated!
In the meantime, this article from The New Zealand Herald where approximately 400 ‘X’ passports are in current circulation http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10852012
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
Copyright ©2013 Christie Elan-Cane
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