Government Reviewing Gender Marks In Passports

5 April 2017, 15:21

Passport

The Government has said it is reviewing the way gender is marked on official documents amid calls from campaigners to introduce a new X classification for UK passports.

LGBT charity Stonewall said allowing passport holders to identify themselves as X rather than male or female would help thousands of people who do not identify with a single gender.

The recommendation is one of a series of changes recommended by the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group as part of a five-year plan to create equality for trans people.

A Government spokeswoman said: "The UK already has strong laws in place to protect transgender people and we are committed to delivering further positive changes for them.

"That is why we have committed to reviewing the Gender Recognition Act to look at ways of streamlining and de-medicalising the process for changing a person's legal gender, as well as reviewing gender markers in official documents.

"Alongside this, we are investing £3 million to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.''

Around 650,000 people identify themselves as trans across the UK.

Tara Stone, a member of the group which drew up the report, said gender neutral passports would help trans people as well as intersex people, who may have the biological attributes of both sexes. Saying "For trans people who identify as non binary, that is neither male or female or some combination thereof, it would give them an option that wasn't prescriptive, whereas the only options at the moment are prescriptive for them.

"It basically allows them to express their identity.''

X classifications have already been introduced by the likes of Australia, Nepal and New Zealand.

Other recommendations in the Stonewall report include revising the Gender Recognition Act so people would not need medical evidence to get their gender recognised by law.

Further changes would reform the Equality Act to include "gender identity'' as a protected characteristic, as well as removing the terms "gender reassignment'' and "transsexual''.

Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman Baroness Burt of Solihull said: "I'm glad to see the Government has finally accepted that a review into the Gender Recognition Act is overdue.

"However, we don't need another review to tell us that X passports should be introduced.

"Given the Government is throwing cash down the drain changing the colour of our passports, the least they could do is offer some comfort to individuals who don't want to identify as either male or female and introduce X passports.

"As always, this Government seem to have their priorities all wrong.''

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