Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
‘X’ PASSPORTS IN THE UK
More than 30 MPs have added their signature to EDM 11 in support of ‘X’ PASSPORTS so far.
EDM 11 is on course to exceed 100+ signatures before close of 2016-17 Session and in time for a full parliamentary debate to be called.
‘X’ PASSPORTS were raised in a Topical Questions Debate in Parliament on 26 May where Equalities Minister Nicky Morgan’s non-committal answer was subsequently challenged by Women and Equalities Select Committee Chair Maria Miller MP who further raised the ongoing delay of a Government response to the Committee’s ‘Transgender Equality’ Report published January 2016.
Speaker John Bercow described the minister’s evasive response as “a very tardy response indeed” and “really not very satisfactory” urging for a Government response before the summer recess.
Interesting also to note Maria Miller’s comment that the Report is now five months old. This would imply the Government had access to the completed report ahead of its public release in January 2016.
I will keep the site posted as further details become available.
This is quite a long post and essentially urging everyone who cares about this issue to stay with me and keep reading……………
UK CENSUS 2021
I tried very hard to no avail to persuade ONS to include an alternative option to ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ before the last census was rolled out. I understand that Census 2021 will be conducted entirely online with the effect that respondents who find themselves excluded from the process cannot express their disaffection despite the legal requirement to return the questionnaire.
THIS was how I communicated my need for an alternative option when I returned the questionnaire the last time around. Not sure how I can do that again if the form can only be completed online!
I understand from recent news reports that ONS has finally acknowledged that the population does not all fit neatly into its male or female gendered boxes and is now considering change for Census 2021. I would like to believe that my gesture of questionnaire vandalism the last time around might even have raised the profile of the issue and helped to move things along in some small way. The current detail for Census 2021 is predictably vague and whispers of change might eventually amount to nothing.
I will find a method to submit an appropriate response to a question that is deeply inappropriate to people who define as neither ‘Male’ nor ‘Female’ despite the limitations of online technology if lazy and unimaginative ONS mandarins attempt to force me to deny my non-gendered identity again.
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds has acknowledged that not everyone can be pigeonholed into ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ but somehow managed to get it spectacularly WRONG in what has been suggested as an attempt to be accommodative.
The Lloyds proposal, if I am understanding this correctly, is that two sets of bank cards and account details will be issued to the customer, one set for ‘M’ and the other set for ‘F’.
While the proposal might be acceptable to customers who define themselves as gender-fluid (an identity where the gender can oscillate between male and female), a ‘provision’ that enables an account holder to be identified as either ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ dependent upon how the individual happens to be presenting at the time is MOST DEFINITELY NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR NON-GENDERED CUSTOMERS.
The non-gendered identity is CONSTANT and the identity is NEITHER male nor female. Neither ‘M’ nor ‘F’ are appropriate. Period. Is that so very hard to understand??
I do not want one inappropriate gendered reference on my personal details so why the hell would I ever want two sets of details with two inappropriate gendered references???
I am dumbfounded and I find it profoundly disturbing that one of the UK’s leading corporations that has policies that support ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ can nonetheless demonstrate such a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue.
But keep reading…………… the following items might possibly shed some light……………
I do not want to waste too much more of my time on this tiresome episode however will briefly draw attention to recent ruling from the UK’s un-independent press standards watchdog IPSO.
The ruling was predictably not upheld in my favour despite the validity of my complaint against an offensive, misleading and highly irresponsible commentary item published by The Spectator.
Readers might be baffled by the extensive wordiness of IPSO’s summary of the complaint. The explanation is that IPSO was not willing to accommodate into its summary the non gender-specific [third person singular] pronoun I’ve adopted and used for more than 20 years on the grounds the pronoun “PER” is not yet in common usage and therefore “could make the decision confusing for those who had not previously encountered the word, and affect their understanding of the [IPSO Complaints] Committee’s findings”.
Anyone who has read the vile piece of trash that caused me to register a complaint could not have failed to note there was a direct reference to my non gender-specific pronoun in the piece and the derogatory reference to my pronoun was included in my complaint. IPSO’s summary of the complaint even reproduced the section that contained the reference to my pronoun. Therefore I’m not sure how anyone reading the summary could not have encountered “PER” and not understood its significance.
I would advise those who care about this issue not to bother reading the piece but I would urge you to tune in and listen to the PODCAST that accompanies it. The offending commentator behind the piece discusses the ‘Transgender Equality’ Report with Jacqui Gavin, vice chair of the trans* civil service network a:gender.
The a:gender spokesperson, an awarded LGBT “Diversity Champion” no less, appears to demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the need for ‘X’ PASSPORTS which she dismisses as a having a “non marker” along with a dismissive description of those “in the middle ground” who have “totally different issues” to those who “journey from one gender to the other” and who “historically want to be identified”. I believe I have quoted accurately and caught the essence of what was said in the conversation.
Gavin’s confusion of the issues in what would appear to be an inability to distinguish and differentiate between non-gendered and gender-fluid identities is lamentable. Her lack of appreciation that there is a need for ‘X’ PASSPORTS is demonstrable however.
I am being generous here only because I honestly cannot say whether Gavin’s dismissive attitude towards the need for non gender-specific documentation is due to a lack of mental capacity to comprehend the definition of non-gendered identity or just another example of bigotry that I’ve learned to associate with the a:gender leadership’s desire to oppress trans* identities that cannot be defined in terms of male and female.
Either way, I find her comments inappropriate, offensive and extremely worrying given that this is an individual who acts as an advisor to governing, public and corporate organisations.
What Jacqui Gavin is saying effectively is that she does not support the provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS for those who need non gender-specific documentation because she would not want one for herself.
She does not accept that non-gendered people have also experienced and gone through an incredible journey that has no legitimate endpoint within gendered society. And who is she to indicate that others whose journeys might not have been as straightforward as her “journey from one gender to the other” do not want to be identified? I have been fighting for more than 20 years to be able to exercise my fundamental right to be correctly identified!
Trans* Equality: The Enemy Within
I’ve expressed concern about a:gender several times on the site in recent months and I shall continue to raise alarm bells about the organisation all the while its senior members’ personal prejudices exert undue influence over parliamentarians and senior policy decision makers in a manner that undermines and erodes the principle of legitimate identity as a fundamental human right. An individual’s identity should be respected whether that identity is non-gendered, bi-gendered or fluid. The a:gender leadership is averse to the fundamental principle and as a collective does not want to extend legitimacy with clear enforceable civil rights to trans* people whose identities do not conform within the established societal norms that a:gender seeks to uphold.
I return to ‘X’ PASSPORTS. As the profile of the issue has been raised and there is a clear and evident need for non gender-specific documentation for people who define as neither male nor female, it is essential that serious questions are asked and an investigation conducted into the sham passport policy review that took place as part of the trans* equality action plan, the former coalition government’s blueprint undertaking to improve the lives of trans* people in the UK. The plan was indeed “all plan and no action”. As the Women and Equalities Select Committee more or less concurred in its ’Transgender Equality’ Report “The 2011 Advancing Transgender Equality action plan remains largely unimplemented”.
The passport policy ‘review’ conducted by HM Passport Office (HMPO, formerly the Identity and Passport Service, (IPS)) was a deliberate sham under the pretext that a genuine internal policy review was taking place. The intention was that ‘X’ PASSPORTS should be buried and the fundamental needs of those who require non gender-specific identification swept under the carpet
The provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS was and remains an essential conduit towards wider provision and social acceptance for people whose identities are neither male nor female.
The burial of ‘X’ PASSPORTS, similar to ONS’ earlier rejection of my proposal for a third census option, would further condemn trans* people whose identities are neither male nor female to an invisible existence on the margins of society, denied legitimate identity, denied essential provisions and excluded from the societal mainstream where gender is a precursor to participation. IPS’ denial of any requirement for ‘X’ PASSPORTS was extremely cruel and the intention was to silence a section of the trans* population that already had no voice.
My former MP eventually forced the publication of a review outcome report. The shambolic and hastily cobbled together document that emerged some months later makes clear to independent observers there was no proper review. The whole exercise had been a sham.
Here is the HMPO publication that remains in the parliamentary Library. Readers will note there was just one stakeholder objection to ‘X’ PASSPORTS. Three stakeholders are referenced in the document as having been consulted by IPS whereas in reality there were only two stakeholders. I am referenced in the document as a stakeholder and yet IPS did not consult with me at all. I made several attempts to engage with IPS and these attempts were curtly rebutted by IPS civil servants. I had no discussions with IPS at any time throughout the ‘review’ period. The quotes attributed to me in the document were directly lifted from the introductory text of an online petition that I activated in October 2012. The petition is still running and anyone interested enough can cross reference the petition against HMPO’s ridiculous document for themselves. HMPO did not even bother to remove the pasted invite to sign my petition from its text (Page 10/15).
The only stakeholder that raised objection to ‘X’ PASSPORTS in the HMPO document was a:gender (Page 9/15) where its representative Sarah Rapson cites as justification for retaining a discriminatory policy that “many transgender people use the passport as evidence of their acquired gender”. Again there was a fundamental failure to engage on the issue because non gender-specific documentation is not something that a:gender’s senior membership would want for themselves.
What is not made clear by Sarah Rapson is that:
- The ‘Sex’ category (not gender) cannot be removed from either the passport or the passport application form because ‘Sex’ is currently a mandatory data field in accordance with international regulations for machine readable travel documents. The UK Government has no powers to remove the field and I have never suggested the field should be completely removed;
- There was no suggestion from campaigners that ‘X’ should be forced upon all trans* people. The proposed policy for the introduction of ‘X’ PASSPORTS was always that an application for ‘X’ should be entirely voluntary as occurs in Australia and New Zealand;
- The document refers to Sarah Rapson (at the time of writing the report, 2014) as “the transgender champion on behalf of the Home Office and regularly engages with a: gender” however the document fails to mention that Sarah Rapson was also the IPS Chief Executive Officer at the time the sham ‘review’ was conducted (between 2012-13) and held the position right up until April 2013 when my former MP was informed there were no plans for ‘X’ PASSPORTS to be issued in the UK. She was transferred to another senior executive position within the Home Office just one week after the letter was sent to my MP. I fail to see how the Chief Executive of IPS can also be called upon as a stakeholder.
As I’ve said before on many occasions, there are SERIOUS OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS concerning the credibility and the integrity of HM Passport Office’s purported policy ‘review’. There was no intention to move forward with proposals to permit the provision of ‘X’ PASSPORTS in the UK. The deception was supported by an unelected consortium of trans* people who act as key advisers and influencers yet reveal themselves as bigoted and uninformed. The a:gender leadership has a distorted version of the trans* narrative that would put all trans* people into boxes marked ‘M’ or ‘F’ and they exercise far too much power over other trans* peoples’ lives.
Reminder, I try to update the site frequently as news is made available however advise you to follow me on Twitter for the most up-to-the-minute information.
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered