100 MPs have signed a motion calling for legal recognition for people who do not associate with a particular gender, tabled by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
Early Day Motion 660 recognises that people whose identities are neither male nor female are “compromised and diminished” by UK passport policy, which currently requires each person’s passport to be marked with an ‘M’ or ‘F’.
The motion “urges that the Government and HM Passport Office make non gender-specific X passports available in the UK to people who do not identify with a particular gender”.
A growing number of countries already allow non gender-specific passports to be issued to applicants when neither ‘M’ nor ‘F’ apply; including Australia, New Zealand, Malta, Nepal and India.
The Women and Equalities Select Committee's 'Transgender Equality' report, published in January 2016, also recommended that “The UK must follow Australia’s lead in introducing an option to record gender as “X” on a passport. If Australia is able to implement such a policy there is no reason why the UK cannot do the same. In the longer term, consideration should be given to the removal of gender from passports.”
Norman Lamb MP, who is re-tabling the motion for the new parliamentary session 2016-17, said:
“Reaching this milestone shows the strength of support for the rights of non-gendered people. This is a simple fight for equality. There is no reason why gender should be specified on a passport, and to force people to choose between two binaries is discriminatory and archaic.
“Few parliamentary motions receive the backing of 100 MPs. This achievement is testament to the importance of this issue, and to the tireless and inspiring work of campaigners like Christie Elan-Cane.
“I will continue to throw my full weight behind this campaign, and look forward to giving a voice to people who do not associate with a particular gender in the new parliamentary session.”
Christie Elan-Cane, NON-GENDERED – Fighting for Legal Recognition, said:
“That so many Members of Parliament have openly pledged their support for this issue is a monumental achievement given the issue was completely under the radar when I first approached my former MP in 2005. The issue is not controversial to those of us who define without gender, neither male nor female, whose lives are eroded by social invisibility and a lack of enforceable civil rights.
"Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right and governing authorities cannot just continue ignoring our existence indefinitely. The issue will not go away. A growing number of people are resisting enforced and inappropriate gendered categorisation. Provision of ‘X’ Passports is just the beginning in our fight for equality and fair treatment.”
Full text of EDM 660: LEGAL RECOGNITION FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH A PARTICULAR GENDER
That this House recognises the support expressed during the last parliamentary session to address the issues faced by people whose identities are neither male nor female; believes that people are compromised and diminished as a result of inappropriate gender references on their personal identity information; acknowledges that all passports issued by HM Passport Office are currently gender-specific and it is therefore not possible to obtain a British passport that contains no reference to gendered identity; understands that the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard specification for machine-readable travel documents (ICAO Document 9303) permits X (unspecified) alongside F (female) and M (male) under a mandatory sex category; notes that citizens of Australia and New Zealand are able to obtain a non gender-specific X passport and that India, Nepal and Pakistan make provision for their citizens when neither M nor F are appropriate; further believes that similar provision is needed in the UK where current discriminatory policy denies non-gendered and bi-gendered people a legitimate identity; and therefore urges that the Government and HM Passport Office make non gender-specific X passports available in the UK to people who do not identify with a particular gender.