Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
Creating a fairer and more equal society
Interesting that the GEO website has just been redesigned and outlines a positive new mission statement (uploaded on 27 March 2013, not 27 February as stated on the website).
Under a policy header ‘Creating a fairer and more equal society‘, the United Kingdom government lists a number of key action points. The fulfilling of commitments outlined in the government’s trans* equality action plan document is included on this list
That the government has publicly reaffirmed its commitment to working for trans* equality is a positive sign but words alone will not do. It is more than one year since the trans* equality action plan was launched – and I have gained no benefit from the existence of the action plan whatsoever. The position of non-gendered in the UK is not discernibly any different now than before the detail of the action plan was announced in December 2011. The public announcement followed more than a year of government ‘engagement’ with stakeholders from the trans* community.
I can sometimes enter my title ‘Pr’ when filling in forms but am frequently required to use ‘Dr’, because online menus do not include non gender-specific titles unless the title is acquired through profession (I’m not qualified but that is neither here nor there). I am still denied access to certain goods and services due to an inappropriate requirement to declare as either male or female during an application or registration process. My issue with NatWest Bank is unresolved and I remain unable to access online services for my personal bank account. Yes, I am increasingly able to persuade organisations to accept my non-gendered identity and make provision, and I am able to be open about my identity in most situations but this is the outcome of having spent most of my adult life – more than 20 years – hammering away, raising awareness of the issue and challenging negative perceptions rather than a carrying through of government commitments made in the trans* equality action plan. Quite the contrary, as evidenced in the case of the proposed Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill where the terminology is uncompromisingly gender-specific throughout. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmpublic/marriage/memo/m55.htm
Non-gendered people are denied a legitimate identity within the gendered societal structure and nothing has changed since the inception of the trans* equality action plan. How can the government claim it is creating a fairer and more equal society when a marginalized and vulnerable section within society remain socially invisible and constantly ‘punished’ by gendered society for being who they are?
The societally marginalized have been systematically and successively FAILED by discriminatory legislation and cowardly policy decisions. I have seen no evidence of any following through with government commitments to non-gendered in the trans* equality action plan. I have seen nothing that gives me confidence or cause for optimism. I have seen nothing – period.
What is needed is a discernable sign that something is actually happening to improve the lives of all sections of the trans* community and not empty rhetoric.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 does not afford protection to trans* who do not meet the criteria to obtain a GRC – a piece of paper that serves as a tool to enable trans* to blend into the (gendered) societal mainstream and disappear.
Without statutory protection from discrimination, anyone (eg. an employer, potential employer, teacher, provider of goods or services) can discriminate against trans* and it is quite legal. And, if an unprotected person becomes the victim of a physical assault, the assailant would automatically receive a lesser sentence than would have been the case had the victim been from within a ‘protected strand’ under the Equality Act. As a scenario, is that equality – or fair?
THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 MUST BE AMENDED AS A MATTER OF URGENCY IN ORDER THAT NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND
If you agree, then sign my petition ‘Legal protection for all trans* and intersex in the UK’
In support of ‘X’ passports in the United Kingdom
As the long wait for further news from the Identity and Passport Service and government shows no sign of ending, another reminder that my other online petition is still active, having been submitted to the IPS in January 2013. The petition will remain open until such time that non gender-specific ‘X’ passports are obtainable for all UK passport holders who do not identify as ‘M’ or ‘F’.
In acknowledgement of my recent communications expressing deep concern at lack of progress in the delivery of the trans* equality action plan, the GEO has now advised that a response on all the points I have raised in those communications is on the way.
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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