During the committee stage of the ‘getting rid of ID cards’ Bill – the issue was raised as to how this would impact on those living in an acquired gender. It is currently the case that a passport will be issued in the acquired gender on production of a medical report. In fact, it is the passport in the acquired gender that then helps the individual who is transitioning or who has transitioned to acquire the Gender Recognition Certificate which means that that person’s gender will become, for all purposes, their gender. There is more information about the Gender Recognition Certificate here.
The discussion on this centred around whether there would be an impact on the transgender community when ID cards are withdrawn.
Julian Huppert (LibDem MP for Cambridge), in the debate in committee on ID cards and their relevance to transgender identity, pointed out that the trans people he had consulted with, wanted anything but to be separately identified because they would then be the only people to hold two identities (legally) and more identifiable as not of one gender. In fact he went on to question whether there was any need at all, even on a passport, for there to be a description of gender. Cambridge is the first authority to have had a transgendered Mayor and several councillors.
I would be interested to know how many people with gender identity issues look in at this blog – as the Government is now committed to a Transgender Action Plan and information from the Trans community will be key to that plan. For those who don’t want to publish on a blog – please feel free to contact me more privately.
I read one blog piece from one member of that community who was clearly following the debate. I’ve pasted this below from one of Julian Huppert’s constituents.
It’s nice to see an MP who one voted for doing some positive work on issues that affect you, even if that positive work is having to defend the possibly well intentioned but certainly badly thought out actions of the new opposition. You’d think Meg Hillier, having proposed an amendment to the bill scrapping ID cards relating to transgender people, (Specifically, New Clause 3) might have done some basic research on the issue. Clearly she had not and neither had her colleague, Julie Hilling, before also speaking in support of the clause. They were, to my mind, rather unprepared for the somewhat better researched responses from Lynne Featherstone MP, Equalities Minister, and Dr.Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge. (My local MP)
The amendment was to keep ID cards for transgendered people for a period as, according to Ms. Millier, it’s the “only document that could be given to someone in an acquired identity without a gender recognition certificate”. As anyone that’s been through the process knows, this is nonsense. In regards to passports, the United Kingdom Passport Service will issue a new passport if you can produce medical proof that you are transitioning. This new passport will have the appropriate name, photo and gender marker. In my case, this took around three weeks mostly because I had not enclosed my original birth certificate but Dr. Huppert makes reference to another of his constituents who managed to get a passport in 5 days.
I was particularly pleased that Dr. Huppert went on to suggest that we simply remove gender markers from ID documents. This is, in my mind, a much more satisfactory solution to the problem for a much wider group of people, for example anyone neutrios that rejects any particular binary gender identity, than having to carry two ID cards. Indeed, as he points out, if it is only transgender people that have valid ID cards, the mere act of producing an ID card outs oneself.
Labour went on to try to push for a government consultation on the issue. This appears to be a rather poor attempt to save face on their part as the only issue is one they tried to construct in their own minds without conducting the most basic research.