Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
Government Action Plan on TransEquality
The next stage of the coalition government consultation process has started – the ‘public’ stage where you have the opportunity to indicate your views directly to the government.
The Government Equalities Office (GEO) have released an online survey that can be accessed from within an e-bulletin on the GEO website http://www.equalities.gov.uk/news/transgender.aspx
The survey begins by presenting a concise list of issues as areas of concern for the transpopulation and asks you to rate in order the areas that you regard as greater or lesser priority (difficult, when trying to decide what should take priority between such serious issues including healthcare and employment – all of the issues are detrimental to victims of discrimination and can have a negative impact on our lives).
Then follows a series of frames containing all the separate issues covering each area in more detail, with further questions where you are invited again to state priorities in order and then given an option to comment further at the end of each section (comments between 60-100 word max, dependant on the question).
My first thoughts on the survey were that the format chosen by the GEO did not really present the easiest way for us to voice our opinions and fully relay our experiences. The questions are delivered in a way that requires very direct responses and I was not comfortable with the idea that some areas should be prioritised over others. Different areas might have greater or lesser priority to me at different points in my life. Some of the questions did not apply to me at all. But one has to bear in mind the GEO want to gather the views of a sizeable but unknown number from within the country’s population (a number that is probably far higher than they can appreciate – in the case of the socially invisible non-gendered population – because no attempt has been made before to gather information about us). The questions therefore have to be within a deliverable format in the first instance. And the GEO want the survey to be completed by members of the transpopulation and presenting the questions in this format most probably reduces the risk the questionnaire will be seized upon for facetious response by the privileged non-trans majority.
The survey was fairly thorough on the covered areas, and it does cover or provide opportunity to comment on most of the issues I had raised with the GEO as areas of particular concern for non-gendered human beings with the notable omission of Civil Partnerships.
This is however an initial survey and I believe there will be further opportunities to state your views.
I intend to continue working with the GEO in the interests of non-gendered human beings within the United Kingdom and doing my best to ensure that issues specific to non-gendered are addressed as part of GAPTE and that non-gendered interests are properly considered throughout GAPTE.
The survey should take at least an hour of your time but most probably will take longer, dependant on how much you want to add as comment. But very much worth seeing through to the end where you will be invited to add a final comment (up to 200 words).
The GEO assure that all responses are treated as confidential.
There were glitches in the system. I ran into trouble and had to delete some of my added comments because the system ruled them ‘invalid’ and I couldn’t proceed to the next frame. No idea why because the comments were within word count for relevant sections and I have informed the GEO of this problem in hope that it will be quickly sorted out. And if you exit the survey at any point you will only be able to return to the next frame rather than the one you were completing (I found that out the hard way but fortunately I had completed all sections of the previous frame before exiting and did not lose anything – but another glitch?), so make sure you complete every question on a single frame before exiting the survey. It is probably safest to allow enough time and go through the whole questionnaire in one go.
What is really frustrating is that, having completed the survey, I cannot access any part of the questionnaire again on my PC (some inbuilt security feature in order to prevent multiple responses from one source?) and I’m having to relay the survey details from memory.
The GEO request that surveys are completed no later than 6 May 2011.
Any questions relating to the survey or other aspects of the Government Action Plan should be addressed to Transgender@geo.gsi.gov.uk.
Two Lives by Kathy Anne Noble
I don’t usually promote material on this website but make an exception this time for Kathy who first made me aware of the New Zealand passport issuing authority policy to issue ‘X’ non gender-specific passports in accordance with internationally accepted standards for machine readable passports. Indeed Kathy, born in England and now living in Australia, was involved with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission consultation.
Read about Kathy’s journey http://www.zeus-publications.com/two_lives.htm
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered.