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August 27th, 2016

Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure


The ultimate purpose of a current survey of ICAO member states referenced in my earlier post remains unclear. However………

It certainly does appear that HM Passport Office (HMPO) took full advantage of time afforded after the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s first inquiry on the subject of ‘Transgender Equality’ was announced on 27 July 2015 in the knowledge that its activities could not be subject to scrutiny.

There is a risk that non gender-specific ‘X’ might be removed from ICAO Document 9303 – the internationally accepted specification for machine readable travel documents – if HMPO reports back to the ICAO in December 2016 that the majority of member states do not support the inclusion of a non gender-specific option under the mandatory ‘Sex’ data field.

The ICAO has already formally agreed to put HMPO’s findings forward for implementation.

The objective behind HMPO’s survey could be uncharacteristically benign, such as HMPO aiming to secure agreement among ICAO member states that international obligations are upheld and that travellers with an ‘X’ Passport are allowed equal rights of passage upon arrival at member states’ national border control as benefitted by other travellers. However………

HMPO has an extremely poor record in this respect. The organisation’s senior policy directors are known to be overtly and singularly hostile towards ‘X’ Passports.

The Response from Government to the Select Committee Report makes its position very clear on Page 23 “We maintain the need for gender to be gathered at the point of application and included in the passport chip to assist law enforcement and border agencies.”.

I am not commenting further or advocating a particular course of action until there is clarity.

I hope to be able to provide an update in due course concerning the legal case that has been pending against the discriminatory passport policy administered by HMPO in the UK.

EDM 11

Parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) 11 is the fifth motion to be tabled by MPs over four consecutive sessions calling upon the UK Government to change its discriminatory policy on ‘X’ Passports.

EDM 660 in the last session was supported by 100 MPs but the target figure was reached on the final day of parliamentary session and too late for a debate to be called.

Each motion has built upon and exceeded the support of earlier motions therefore I am reasonably confident that EDM 11 can achieve 100 signatures in this session and with enough time to call for a debate despite the ensuing chaos that has engulfed politics and the whole country in recent months.

As anyone who has followed me on this site should know, EDMs have no executive powers and a widely supported EDM does not automatically guarantee a parliamentary debate.

EDMs are an extremely useful mechanism to raise the profile of issues that otherwise would be ignored. It is a significant achievement to get 100+ MPs to support an EDM and this will have been noted. To that extent the tabling of successive EDMs has been highly successful.

I am appealing again to everyone who cares about this issue. Contact your MP and strongly urge them to sign EDM 11 in support of ‘X’ Passports. You can find your MP’s details here.

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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