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CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



‘X’ PASSPORTS RAISED AT DEBATE

Yesterday I was invited to present the question “Would your party commit to immediately introducing non gender-specific 'X' passports, and what will you do to address the wider issues facing lack of legal recognition for non-gendered people in the UK?” to the panel at PinkNews Debate.

I was then invited by Chair Evan Davis to elaborate more on the background and the purpose of the ‘X’ Passport before the panel responded to my question.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett responded with a definite “Yes” and advised that a motion had been passed at conference and was recognised as “a very important issue”.

UKIP Culture Spokesperson Peter Whittle was non-committal and unsure about the “technical” aspect of ‘X’ passports although responded positively when I asked him directly whether he believed that legitimate identity is a fundamental right.

Liberal Democrat Party Chief Whip Don Foster’s response was definitely “Yes” as he went on to inform me about the Early Day Motion tabled before Parliament and the work of minister Simon Hughes MP. I pointed out that Simon Hughes is my local MP and I am aware of the EDM that now has 76 signatures, although did not have enough time to explain that I was consulted during drafting of the text when EDM was originally tabled by Simon Hughes during the last parliamentary session and subsequently re-tabled by Julian Huppert MP in the last session before its third run in this session, having been tabled again by Julian Huppert. Unfortunately I was off mike at the time and YouTube viewers would not have heard the full exchange. But a good response and moving forward.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper’s response was that the Labour Party recognised that existing legislation was out of date and that the issues I raise would be part of an overall trans* review that would be conducted if the Labour Party were to return to power. Made the right overtures but, having been there before, I do not see the need for another proposed “review”. Would HM Passport Office be tasked again to conduct another sham review on ‘X’ passports? Given Labour’s shameful record on this issue while in office (remember the ID card scheme?), I listened with caution although I do believe the party now has some basic grasp of the wider issue. EDM 47 has received good support from Labour Party backbench MPs however remains to be seen whether ‘X’ passports and provision within a wider sense would be “looked at” or acted upon.

Unfortunately the Conservative Party representative on the panel, Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Leader of the House of Lords, acknowledging this as an “important topic”, appeared to have a very thin grasp of the issues and not clear about the definitions, or differences between, non-gendered and intersex. She was unwilling to deliver an affirmative response and indicated the issues needed to be looked at more thoroughly essentially in order to protect individuals who might actually want to travel with an ‘X’ Passport, and effectively repeating HM Passport Office’s extremely patronising and insulting negative inference that being deprived of documentation that accurately reflects a non-gendered person’s identity (or at least does not misrepresent through the misappropriation of gendered references) is all really for our own benefit. My response? Just watch the YouTube video!

Participation in the debate was generally a positive experience given that I did get to raise the points I was there to raise and more. One day closer towards equality but a long, long and dedicated road ahead – but just think back to where we were ten years ago and completely off the political radar. The rest of the debate concerned mainly LGB issues and more generic issues that affect almost everyone (eg. housing) with a few surprises occurring during the evening.

The event was streamed live on YouTube – I present my question at about 01:14:30 into the recording https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b2L6nZl3uo


EDM 47

Early Day Motion has just DAYS to run before end of this parliamentary session. It is still not too late to approach your local MP and urge their support for the motion
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/47

I have spent the last few weeks sending out thousands of emails (literally) and making telephone calls to parliamentary offices of several MPs in an effort to garner more support and achieve the 100+ signatures that was my target. I have some further undertakings and assurances that more signatures will follow within the coming days but whether they materialise in time to make the count remains to be seen.

This has been a time consuming and exhausting exercise that nonetheless generated a positive outcome as the EDM count started to rise after a lengthy malaise that saw minimal increase over a period of weeks since the beginning of the calendar year. There will be a further written account on this site after the current session ends that will include the names of MPs who acknowledged yet refused to sign the motion. But not too late to act – if your MP is dithering, contact them again and strongly urge they support the motion (the final chance to not be on the wrong side of history)!

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

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Christie Elan-Cane
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