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May 12th, 2010

May. 12th, 2010





Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the societal gender system



It is now official. The universally unpopular National Identity Database scheme that has hung over our heads for so long has been scrapped following the outcome of General Election.

While it was suggested to me as long ago as 2004 from a reputable source that the scheme would in all probability fail to materialise, I found it nonetheless extremely frightening that I could be criminalized by an out-of-control authoritarian state regime because I refused to apply for an identity card where I would be forced to deny my non-gendered identity and collaborate in my own invisibility when asked to declare whether I am male or female in the application process.

Although the threatened legal requirement to carry an ID card at all times had wavered some months ago, the unpalatable concept remained that all members of society would eventually be required to retain a card and for their personal details to be loaded onto some kind of sinister national central monitoring system. There were a number of civil liberties violation issues concerning this scheme but for me the main concern was that I would be forced to deny my non-gendered identity at some point in order to maintain the limited access I have at present to goods and services where access is taken for granted by the privileged gendered majority within society.

So it is an immense relief to me that now we have a change of government, and the scheme is now dead and buried hopefully forever.

But it is not time to celebrate yet. There remains a multiple of outstanding cases where a gendered role is demanded in order to obtain an essential item of documentation (passport, drivers licence etc.) or to access a service (opening a bank or credit card account or many kinds of insurance policy such as private healthcare, car insurance etc.) and a gendered role is stated on each individual’s NHS record, national insurance record, pension records etc. It is even required to state a gendered role before being able to access or create accounts on certain websites. WHY???

My own driver’s licence is due for renewal in August of this year and already I am feeling physically sick, quite shaky and have knots in my stomach in the certainty that in three months time I will have to complete a form where I will probably be required to deny my non-gendered identity once more – an identity I have reclaimed despite the tyranny of gendered societal oppression that has rendered me invisible within society – and I will tick a box and sign a declaratory statement that the information I have given is correct, and I remain a person aligned on record with a gendered role I rejected many years ago.

I have whenever possible taken myself out of situations where a gendered role is demanded in a participation process but there are many areas (the freedom to drive and the freedom to travel are just two obvious examples) where the loss of access would be a greater detriment to the momentary indignity of denying my non-gendered identity. But that does not make it right or acceptable that human beings should be faced with those choices. Every time I have to deny my non-gendered identity I feel I am losing not just my self-respect but something more. I am losing a part of myself.

And those feelings of loss have been a recurrent theme in correspondence I’ve received over recent years from others who are affected by this issue.

The enforcement of inappropriate gendered categorisation upon the non-gendered, the denial of human existence outside the gendered societal structure that has rendered the non-gendered identity socially invisible and made us non-persons, is a systematic breach of our rights as human beings to be free to be the people we were destined to be.

The ID card national database threat is gone and I am pleased and relieved about that but the fight goes on.

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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