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Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure


European ruling ends discriminatory categorisation in the insurance industry


The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled against the discriminatory practice of insurance companies determining gender as a risk factor when calculating premiums for the provision of insurance.


The pronouncement received widespread and typically negative publicity from the British media yesterday whereas the insurance industry had been using the risk element to flout European Council Directive 2004/113/EC. The EC Directive exists to implement the principle of equal treatment in access to and supply of goods and services and prohibits all discrimination based on sex/gender in access and supply of goods and services. The Directive has been in force since 21 December 2007.


Following the new ruling, the insurance industry will not be permitted to categorise by gender from 21 December 2012.




For some time I have been arguing for an end to the discriminatory practice of gendered categorisation from the private sector as a prerequisite for provision of goods and services. The insurance industry is one of the worst among the habitually offending within the sector because they provide financial services that are essential for many people and they use the element of risk to justify discriminatory practice and remain exempt from the European anti-discrimination legislation.


Categorisation by gender as a basis for provision of goods and services has effectively resulted in the withholding of goods and services to non-gendered human beings unless we deny our core identity and declare a gendered role when presented with this inappropriate and offensive question. I am forced to compromise and deny my identity when annually renewing my car insurance. I like to drive my car and I need to be able to drive in order to get about. Car insurance is not a luxury or an optional extra. It is illegal to drive a vehicle while uninsured.


Now, thanks to this ruling from 21 December 2012 it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate between the gendered roles in the provision of insurance products.


If there is to be full equality for the privileged gendered majority in terms of insurance provision, then there is no obvious reason to retain the question of gendered role on the application form.


Although the European anti-discrimination legislation was not implemented for our benefit (when is anything ever done for our benefit?!) this is nonetheless good news for non-gendered and I will continue to push for removal of the offensive requirement to state a gendered role in all areas of public life unless an acceptable non gender-specific option is provided.


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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