Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
‘X’ PASSPORTS - LETTER TO THERESA MAY, HOME SECRETARY
Here is copy of letter sent by email with background notes to the parliamentary office of Theresa May, Home Secretary for the United Kingdom government. I will update when response is received:
29 September 2014
2 Marsham Street
(Delivered via email to: email@example.com)
Dear Theresa May
Gendered society takes no account of those who, against the most extreme societal pressure, do not (and cannot) define within the perimeter of male or female. The lack of recognition and consequential lack of provision for identity other than male or female does not only exclude a section of the population from participation within society but forces people whose identity is neither ‘M’ nor ‘F’ to conceal the truth about their identity as routine, and we become unwilling colluders in our own social invisibility in order to survive within gendered society (eg. when instructed to state whether one is male or female on application forms to obtain essential documentation such as a passport; to access many goods and services to which we are entitled; to be able to obtain and to retain salaried employment). When we are faced with this position, where from the moment of consciousness we are confronted by an entire societal structure and legislative system that denies and ignores the reality of our existence, as individuals we learn to assume that ‘rights’ are for other people.
In 2010 I felt very privileged to be invited to take part in the coalition government’s engagement process during the development of the trans* equality action plan to which you were a signatory. I was extremely disappointed that the government ultimately failed to honour many of the commitments made to the trans* community under the action plan. I felt personally betrayed by the coalition government’s mishandling of ‘X’ passports when there was the opportunity to do something that would have had a most profound beneficial impact on the lives of people who are socially invisible because we want our voices to be heard. I would not have willingly given my time and neither would I have made an extensive effort to encourage other people to become politically engaged had I known that my input – and the fundamental needs of myself and others affected by the issues I raise – would ultimately be swept aside by the government.
The HM Passport Office (former Identity and Passport Service) policy ‘review’, referenced on Page 12 of the plan document, gave no serious consideration to proposals in favour of ‘X’ passports and neither did policy makers give proper consideration to the potential benefits of appropriate recognition for a section within society who are rendered socially invisible under present societal and legislative systems.
As it was clear there had been no proper review by the passport authority, it subsequently also became clear there was an unwillingness from HM Passport Office to take ownership of the decision making that had led to an unequivocal rejection of ‘X’ passports by the government. HM Passport Office’s ‘executive agency’ status effectively blurred the lines of accountability and, for this reason, I welcome the announcement that the former agency is to lose its ‘executive’ status because this implies that responsibility for duties performed by the former agency are now more clearly defined.
A decision to authorise the provision of non gender-specific ‘X’ passports to people who do not define as either male or female would ultimately come under Home Office ruling.
I am therefore asking again that, as a minster and signatory to the government’s trans* equality action plan, that you would consider re-opening discussions on ‘X’ passports in anticipation this time around that such discussions are conducted in a more positive and constructive manner.
You might be aware an Early Day Motion was tabled recently that calls in support of this issue. The EDM currently has 50 Member signatures http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47
Christie Elan-Cane (Pr)
NON-GENDERED – Fighting for Legal Recognition
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered