Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
HM PASSPORT OFFICE
On 1st October 2014 HM Passport Office (HMPO) will lose its ‘executive agency’ status (effectively HMPO will be abolished) and its work taken under the direct control of the Home Office
HMPO was already under the auspices of the Home Office but had a level of autonomy that allowed the lines of responsibility to become blurred with regards for taking the decision to permit the issuing of ‘X’ passports to UK passport holders who do not define as ‘M’ or ‘F’.
After the coalition government’s unequivocal rejection of ‘X’ passports and with evidence that HMPO (formerly the Identity and Passport Service) conducted an entirely fake ‘review’ in response to commitments made by the government under its discredited trans* equality action plan, there was a reluctance from both the government and HMPO to admit responsibility for a gross mishandling of the issue. It was clear that neither government nor HMPO had ever seriously considered proposals in favour of ‘X’ passports and that both government and HMPO shared the same contempt for people who desperately need our identities affirmed rather than misrepresented through inappropriate gendered references.
The transfer of power from HMPO to the Home Office is a positive move for ‘X’ passports for two key reasons i) because there is clarity where there was smoke and mirrors and ii) because Home Secretary Theresa May is a signatory to the trans* equality action plan
CALL TO ACTION!
I shall write to the Home Secretary, reminding her of commitments made and request that she keeps her word.
I ask that EVERYONE who is affected by this issue and that EVERYONE who cares about this issue write to Home Secretary Theresa May in support of ‘X’ passports in the UK.
2 Marsham Street
Tel: 020 7035 4848
A reminder of the HM Passport Office Equality and Diversity statement
“We're committed to promoting equality, fairness and respect. Our customers can expect to be treated in a manner that promotes understanding, dignity and respect.”
As part of its E&D commitment HMPO endeavours to:
· recognise the diverse needs of our customers in the development, access and provision of our services
· monitor and evaluate services to ensure that they do not unfairly discriminate against particular groups
· treat all our customers, partners and staff with dignity and respect
It is time for this commitment to be honoured by the United Kingdom government.
Early Day Motion
EDM No. 47 achieved 50 signatures before yet another long parliamentary recess. Parliament resumes on Monday 13 October and we should be prepared to redouble our efforts to raise the signature count to 100. This CAN be achieved and there WILL be a debate on this issue.
LEGAL RECOGNITION FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH A PARTICULAR GENDER
“That this House recognises the issues faced by those in the UK who identify themselves as non-gender, bi-gender or intersex; believes that many of those who are non-gendered or bi-gendered feel compromised and diminished as a result of inappropriate gender references on their personal identity information; acknowledges that all passports issued by HM Passport Office are currently gender-specific and it is therefore not possible to obtain a passport that contains no reference to gendered identity; understands that, alongside F (Female) and M (Male), the International Civil Aviation Organisation's Document 9303 already contains X (unspecified) as a permitted character for three permitted characters under the mandatory sex element for machine-readable travel documents; notes that in Australia and New Zealand citizens are able to obtain a non-gender specific X passport and that India, Nepal and Pakistan also recognise the legitimacy of X as a preferred option when M and F are not appropriate; further believes that allowing this possibility in the UK would go a long way to amend this discriminatory policy which denies non-gendered and bi-gendered people a legitimate identity; and therefore urges the Government and HM Passport Office to make non-gender-specific X passports available to those UK passport holders who do not identify with a particular gender.”
Is your MP on the list of signatories? http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47
Contact your MP and urge their support for the motion. You can find contact details for all MPs here http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/.
In July 2014 the political campaign group Dritte Option (Third Option) launched a test case for the modification of a person’s birth certificate to ‘X’. The request was submitted to the registry office in Gehrden and subsequently forwarded to the district court where it is pending. I will provide an update when I hear further. Dritte Option are also running a political campaign to raise awareness of this issue in Germany. More information can be found on the group’s website which is currently in German however they are working on delivering information in English http://dritte-option.de/
The German governing authorities recently introduced a policy that allowed for a person’s sex to remain blank on the birth certificate and ‘X’ passports are correspondingly issued to individuals with a ‘blank’ birth certificate. Any optimism of a long awaited breakthrough within the European region rapidly dissolved when it became apparent that provision was heavily regulated by the medical profession and only granted to parents where the newborn has clearly defined physical characteristics of both sexes. This is unsatisfactory to the intersex community and completely useless to trans* people who do not identify as either male or female because the policy does not currently extend to the removal of inappropriate gendered references where they already exist.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with the Dritte Option case and wishing the best of luck from the UK.
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered