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April 4th, 2015

Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure


The following communication was sent today to Gloria de Piero, former Shadow Equalities Minister for the Labour Party in response to her article published today in PinkNews

Dear Gloria de Piero

I have read your article in today’s PinkNews and I share the views expressed in some of the online comments towards the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004.

The GRA was the most discriminatory piece of legislation that I can recall and the many diverse sections within the trans* community who were excluded from its narrow remit still suffer the consequences today. The GRA effectively created what one commenter describes very well as a trans* hierarchy of the haves and have nots, or legislation designed to meet the needs of the ‘deserving’ who can blend into gendered society and disappear while completely ignoring the existence of the ‘undeserving’ such as myself who did not make a lifestyle choice to be non-gendered. My non-gendered identity is a fact of life and as real as the identity of any gendered person whether trans* or cisgender, but I am denied legitimate identity and people in my position effectively have no civil rights and we are denied many fundamental human rights. We were betrayed by the GRA and betrayed by those trans* activists who worked with the last Labour government and steered this through. Shame on them! I know with certainty that history will judge them far less favourably than such time that the GRA became law and they were collecting their citizenship awards.

Would it be considered acceptable if discrimination was applied towards other sections of society? Where protection from racial discrimination applied to black people but not to Asians? Where protection from age discrimination did not apply to anyone over 70? Where sex discrimination legislation only protected men? Why therefore should it be considered acceptable or desirable that pro trans* legislation discriminates in terms of who is and who is not protected?

I recently had the opportunity to address a question to a political panel at the PinkNews Debate. My question concerned introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports and wider recognition for non-gendered people. Former Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper acknowledged that existing legislation covering trans* issues needed reviewing. I am therefore extremely dismayed that there is no reference to the issues I raised in your PinkNews article. There is a brief reference to intersex but, as I needed to explain to the panel during debate, non-gendered and intersex do not have the same meaning. The very worst thing that could happen is that provision for those outside the gendered societal structure is strictly allocated depending on a medical diagnosis of intersex, which would exclude most of the people who actually require the provision. It is furthermore pathologising the issue at a time when gendered trans* people are finally moving towards depathologisation. Provision of ‘X’ Passports and other necessary documentation without inappropriate gendered references (eg. driving licence, NHS medical card, national insurance number etc.) should be on a basis of need and not whether a medical professional declares an individual is intersex and therefore ‘deserving’. Otherwise the Labour Party has learned nothing from its past mistakes.


Christie Elan-Cane

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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