Trans identity

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The discussion on this centred around whether there would be an impact on the transgender community when ID cards are withdrawn.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.

118 thoughts on “Trans identity

  1. There is an ID problem that trans folk have independent of ID cards.

    There are many trans folk who are unable to get a GRC as they are married. They can get a passport in their presented sex but this is at odd with their legal sex.

    In the US, where finger prints are taken, ones old ID comes up and you get the question ‘what is your legal sex?’

    You either lie and (in my case) say female or admit that your legal sex is male and run the risk of being accused of travelling on a false passport. I have been pulled aside on this one but do have an expired diplomatic visa in an old male passport and they let me go. I am not sure how long I would last in a US male detention centre!

  2. I am one of the people who worked long and hard with the Home Office, LCD / DCA / MOJ and other departments on both the Gender Recognition Act and the passage of other legislation affecting trans people. During that time I also took part in the very first discussion with members of the Identity Card Bill team about this issue of two cards. Indeed, I am one of very few experts who can recount exactly what was discussed in any of these discussions between 1997 and 2007.

    The ID card provisions go back to discussions which a colleague and I opened with the ID Card Bill team back in summer 2004. The points were subsequently covered in detail by that colleague (Claire McNab) when she gave evidence to the Select Committee prior to the final Bill being tabled for debate.

    The arrangements recognised the reality that, for many trans people, transition is a process rather than an event. That is, not everyone transitions overnight.. woman today; man tomorrow.

    Some people go through a period of time when they present some of the time in one gender and some of the time in the other.

    The ID card procedures specifically catered for this by permitting someone in that position to apply and be issued with two physical cards representing those two forms of presentation. One card with a female picture and name; another with a male picture and name. I think a similar argument was made for actors, who may have a legal name and a stage name. As both cards point to the same identity in the register and only one is used at any instant, there is no confusion. Any attempt at fraud would be dealt with in the same way as any other misrepresentation using the card.

    The ID card was not the first system to make a provision like this. London Underground also made provisions for travel cards to be issued to transitioning trans people in both identities.

    Having said all that, none of us were ever advocates for the ID card itself. As a former IT professional I had well informed reasons to be concerned about it and I can state with certainty, from hundreds of contacts with trans people, that it’s not necessary to help in their day to day lives.

    There are grace and favour arrangements (which you’ve described) for other common documents, going back to the 1960’s and these are still in place. For instance, it is a simple formality for a trans person to obtain a new driving license or a passport, as you’ve described. If someone needs two forms of presentation for a while then they could always stagger their applications to change these documents .. although I’ve never heard of anyone bothering to do that as it’s not a burning necessity in our society. I repeat that the solution for the ID card was only brought about because of the massive potential increase in demand to see that ID in particular.

    One thing that concerns me in your post is reference to the GRC as a form of ID. Please note that it is not. The GRC serves only as a means for the GRP to inform the registrar to create a new entry in the register of births. The document clearly states that it has no validity as a form of ID and, more to the point, it would potentially lead to a breach of Section 22 of the GRA if someone demanded to see a GRC and kept a record (open to a third party) of having seen one.

    Huge and unnecessary problems have been created officials working on the myth that they can demand to see a person’s GRC (or withhold things without it), so please take great care not to be a part of the problem by repeating those myths. A GRC is not a requirement for someone’s name to be changed on medical records, or bank records, or for them to be allowed to use gender appropriate washroom facilities .. all situations where I’ve had to spend many hours helping people to fight for their rights.

    I hope that helps clarify this position.

    Christine Burns MBE
    Former Vice President, Press for Change

  3. Sorry I’m not transgender and I also thought that the Conservative Government were scrapping ID cards.

    What about frontline cuts for the terminally ill, disabled, elderly, poor, young, jobless, etc?

    Are you doing anything to stop them living in fear of what’s to come?

    If you are, you’re doing it very quietly and not having any success.

    Can I suggest you restrain from blowing your own trumpet until you start to do something for the most vulnerable in society. At the moment, you are aa Conserviative not a LibDem, you have no credibility.

    Click to access FailedByTheSystemReport.pdf

  4. Getting us back onto topic – another trans reader here 🙂

    Julian makes a good point that chimes in with work by other Lib Dem parliamentarians. Any ID system that includes a gender field or gendered titles fails those who don’t strongly identify with the two big gender blocs. Even the “trans tax” plans Labour had for people to pay twice for one male-coded ID card and one female-coded ID card were no use for that swathe of the trans and genderqueer population.

  5. We are scrapping ID cards. The question was – is there a function in respect of ID cards and gender identity – that when they go – needs to be filled by another means.

  6. And Christine – thank you for your post.

    Also – with regard to other trans issues – like the requirement to get divorced in order to get the GRC – this will be part of what the transgender action plan looks at.

    There are other issues that need to be addressed. I am aware that unlike race and sexual orientation in terms of hate crime – trans hate crime is not an aggravating factor for example. So the more information coming in – the better. Obviously this is going through formal chanels too – but given the often hidden nature of the community – want to widen up all opportunities for communication.

  7. There is a role for something else, for those that do not present as a single gender, here I am thinking those living in a dual role and also those that identify without the gender binary. This is something that I mentioned to Professor Stephen Whittle yesterday.

    I personally feel, and I get the impression that there is a growing recognition that personal ID, and that includes government issued ID (driving licence &c) should not carry a gender marker. Nor should it carry titles whether conferred or acquired through custom and use.

  8. I’m not trans, but I do try to be a good trans ally. All discussions I’ve seen by transgender people about ID cards have said clearly that ID cards have a huge possibility to harm transgender people and should be scrapped – suggesting that there is no need for any kind of replacement to help transgender people.

    I cannot commend Julian Huppert highly enough for his suggestion of scrapping the gender marker entirely. I know many non-transgender people, like me, would also welcome this move as I just can’t see how my gender matters. The only case I can think of is for body searches – and surely it should be possible to express a preference if necessary?

  9. Christine makes a good point about the GRC – despite the letter of the act making it very clear that only select groups can ask to see a GRC, or even if an individual has one, this is widely ignored and the GRA is increasingly being used as a means to beat trans people over the head, rather than help. I understand the need to issues GRCs to foreign nationals who have no UK birth certificate to issue, but feel that the blanket issuing of a GRC along side a revised birth certificate in the general case was a mistake which has opened the 2004 act up to abuse.

  10. @Bob – despite what you may read in the Daily Mail, trans people are often amongst the most vulnerable in society. We are murdered out of all proportion to our numbers, routinely denied employment, denied access to basic medical services, turned away from domestic violence shelters, and so on. Indeed, if a trans person is the victim of a hate crime and the police arrive, experience shows that there is a depressingly high chance that the police will side with the perpetrator. Murder and suicide are leading causes of death amongst trans people.

  11. Yes, Sarah is quite right. There really is no practical reason for issuing GRCs as a piece of paper, other than for people who can’t obtain a new birth certificate in their acquired gender. This was a mistake on our part, which I for one regret, as we simply didn’t forsee the way some officials would come to fetishise it. As Sarah says, the proper document for officials to request is the birth certificate

    I quite agree, however, that Julian Huppert has opened a very valid question about the purpose of having gender markers on documents in general. In most official areas there is no longer any formal difference in treatment for men and women. We have the same tax allowances; no longer need a man to countersign credit applications, for instance. So what is the purpose of requiring information which can only now be used to continue historic forms of discrimination in a less formal way?

    By definition, if an official NEEDS to know someone’s gender then that can only be because they want to treat someone differently on gender lines.

    Some might argue, of course, that child benefit needs to be paid to women. However, in circumstances such as that, the qualifier should be that you can show that you are the mother of the child; not that you’re a woman.

    I can forsee, of course, that lots of people would fiercely defend the status quo and it’s a policy argument that’s just made for the tabloids to froth over. People have a huge investment in maintaining a gender divide in all walks of life. Trans people get all the flak they do for threatening to blur that distinction through the simple act of crossing, or by staking out new territory in the middle.

  12. Hi Lynne,

    I think it it is useful that the issue of ID for trans people is addressed. In fact, as someone who is not on a journey, but has already arrived, someone who does not intend to transition but who lives in two genders as a part of their permanent identity, I was one of the few people for whom ID cards would have been a positive thing, since it would have enabled me to show my ID in two genders and two names.

    Currently I have to use my male ID at all times. This actually means outing myself as transgender on a regular basis. On a recent trip to Barcelona for instance, to present a paper about transgender children at a conference there, I had to out myself to everyone working at Heathrow and at Barcelona airports. OK this was not particularly dangerous, as all that resulted was some startled looking faces at BA check-in and at the various passport controls, with people having to take long, hard looks at my face and my passport photo. I have a suspicion that the fact that my passport has stamps in it from countries like Japan, the United States, Korea, Taiwan and Canada was one of the factors which made it possible to pass through immigration in some countries. As I will have a new passport shortly, this will no longer help me.

    However I could think of plenty of other scenarios where it would not be so unproblematic. In fact almost any time when I have to produce ID can become a time when I am outing myself. As such it is not merely those who are in the process of transitioning who need to be considered (in fact one of my friends is transsexual but for various reasons, mostly medical, she will be unable to have any medical intervention for a long while) some of us are not on a journey from female to male or vice versa, we are already here, and always have been. This may explain why, up to now, so few non-transsexuals, like myself have been active in campaigning for their rights, because it often involves being outed. The fact that we are constantly outed is significant since we are not protected from discrimination under the Equality Bill.

    As such the law currently requires us to out ourselves in any situation in which ID is required, whilst at the same time failing to protect us from the consequences of being outed.

    I can also imagine that trying to obtain rented accommodation could be problematic, as could obtaining any job, or taking part in any activity, which requires a CRB check. So I would like to endorse Christine’s point that some transsexuals may take years, or even decades to transition fully, especially where they have young children or are in jobs where being fully out may be difficult, even with the Equality Bill’s protection; being a primary school teacher or a nursery nurse for example.

    I have been fortunate that I have only been subject to transphobic attacks twice in the last year, the fact that I have not been in situations where I need to use my ID very often is probably a contributory factor in this.


  13. @Sarah Brown

    Yes, I know trans people are often amongst the most vulnerable in society.

    My point is that this is the first post Lynne has written on any of the vulnerable groups in society and I wonder why she’s so silent when Ian Duncan Smith et al are attacking all vulnerable groups often via the Daily Mail (which, consequently, I have never read).

    Isn’t she supposed to represent all of us, all the vulnerable in society?

  14. Hi Lynne, I’m commented because you asked people to do so, but I have nothing to add to what Christine has said. She understands the issues very well.

  15. Greetings, Ms Featherstone…

    Having continually enquired and repeatedly been sloughed off by former governments since the 2004-07-01 enactment of The Gender Recognition Act… this 26-year postoperative 77-year-young transsexual Lib-Dem/DELGA member would very much appreciate knowing when our Clegeron government is going to extend the legal recognition of GRA 2004 certificated gender beyond the borders of United Kingdom & Northern Ireland—particular and probably necessarily by Order-in-Council on Britain’s reluctant homo- trans-phobic British Overseas Territories … in my case Bermuda…

    Thank you…

    Brenda Lana Smith, D…

  16. @Natacha – one of the huge problems many of us had with ID cards was the likelihood that they would dramatically increase the number of occasions where demands for ID were made, especially when they were adopted widely. In addition, the database behind them would probably have had ones full medical history on it, outing someone long transitioned and living in stealth as trans to any petty official who had access to it, or anyone who happened to pick up the USB stick/laptop which would inevitably have got left in the pub.

    The idea that we could become like the US, where it is utterly routine to demand to see your “papers” for the most trivial of social transactions – I was recently unable to buy *petrol* there without showing photo ID – is not a comforting one. I am glad this particular monster is being killed stone dead and the earth salted under it. Any future government will have to start from scratch if it wants to re-introduce such an authoritarian travesty, in the knowledge that a change of government will likely, once again, tear it down. This can only be a good thing. I am who I say I am, and that’s none of the business of random jobsworths.

    ID cards as envisaged for trans people (would we have been forced to have two? That would have been quite revolting) would not address the travel situation as only one was to be travel-authorised anyway.

  17. hi all

    it is so unfair that i need to get divorced to obtain a grc.

    all cis people have the right to marry.

    i want the same right, not special, just equal.

    when will same gender marriages be recognised.

    it is so 20th century to keep this ban in place.

    come on the coalition get your act together.


  18. Hi Lynne

    There are two ID problems. The first is that (for example) ‘female’ on a transitioned trans woman’s passport can have five different meanings! I feel very vulnerable travelling on what could be construed as a misleading or possibly false passport!

    Teresa May knows about this issue. The law does not recognise that sex and gender can be two different issues. I will not spell out what those five options are the issue has been submitted to EHRC for inclusion in its Triennial Review.

    I took a long time to get to the point when I could permanently transition. I had a credit card in my girl ID added to my ‘guy’ credit card account. I used this when asked for ID and never had a problem. If I had been asked for photo ID, that would have been another issue.

    Of course, the real problem that we have is that the public is generally ignorant of what transgender actually is and, the long term aim should be that we blend in as part of the ordinary spectrum but this will not happen unless the kids are taught tolerance and acceptance. Home Office sponsored research (2007) indicated that 500,000 folk exhibit some degree of gender variance. The number of trans folk seeking medical help is doubling every five years.

  19. Lynne said:

    *Also – with regard to other trans issues – like the requirement to get divorced in order to get the GRC – this will be part of what the transgender action plan looks at. *

    This really is good news. Now that case law is recognising a characteristic of a civil partnership is its sexual orientation, this establishes the civil partnership as a wholly inappropriate relationship for a hitherto heterosexual trans-affected marriage. One needs to recognise the concept of gender in ‘relationship law’ and that gender identity and sexual orientation are different issues.

    Addressing and dealing with the trans marriage issue will also allow you more freedom to develop the civil partnership for the gay community.

  20. @Sarah

    I see your point, and all I am asking for is that existing ID systems could be flexible enough to permit people who, either permanently or temporarily need ID in two genders. The idea that ID needs to be produced on a regular basis like in the States is not something I would like to see. But also I don’t think it is fair that people like me should have to out themselves all the time. Even our mutual friend Sass, who is transsexual, has told of how she has found the area where we most need our ID; air travel, to be particularly unpleasant.

    In fact “gender” is one of the few things I would like to see privatised. Whilst most privatisations have been disasters, especially for customers, privatising gender is something I would like to see.

    Rather than the state telling us our gender, which is what happens now, we should be able to tell the state our gender, and only at times when it is necessary or we consider it in our interests.

    In fact there are very few times when anyone needs to know our physical sex (eg, doctors etc), so why should we not have the right to self-determination of our gender. So all ID should become gender-free.

    In the case of people whose appearance varies between two (or more) genders, maybe we should be allowed to have an addendum to our passports, drivers’ licences etc, in order to take account of this. This might benefit people such as actors also, who may have greatly varying appearances.

    Given the Tories’ desire to ‘roll back the state’ I do not see how privatising our gender identities could be something they should oppose, indeed they should be in favour. The Equality Bill has actually turned out to be better, in many areas, than I had expected, but there is still the clear influence of the fear of the Daily Mail, and the influence of malign ‘feminists’ like Vera Baird (now happily in retirement) which has left a lot of transgender people who are not transsexual only able to claim protection against discrimination by pretending to be someone they are not. Since the current government does not contain any people like Baird and has less to fear from the Mail than Labour I still have high hopes than things can improve for us in this area.

    BTW @Lynne,

    David Cameron’s reception at No 10 for the LGBT community a few weeks ago turned out to have not included any transgender people at all (there were two non-trans people who work on the community’s behalf but no actual trans people). So far my MP Glenda Jackson has not been able to obtain a reply about the reason for this from No 10. and I talked to the head honcho of the LGBTory group, who were marching just in front of the trans people at Pride, and he seemed to think that this was a mistake. So perhaps a good move might be to see if some trans people could be invited next time (Sarah for example?) otherwise it could start to become an issue.

  21. Thanks lynne

    it is great to see someone who knows what they are talking about, with the authority to get things done battling on our side.

    kind regards


  22. @Natacha,

    Thinking ahead to “what next?”, would applying the dual-ID-card system to passports help? I’m guessing passports are subject to international agreements so the UK can’t just change what details are on one as with other ID, but believe there is already provision to issue two active UK passports with the same detail if you have good reason. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to issue two with different details on.

  23. I currently own a ID card in my acquired gender and I was very grateful for the opportunity to do so. I have managed to open a bank account in this name and gender and started to build up a second life in this acquired gender. I am proud to have this official recognition of my acquired gender which I think is a major opportunity to remain in cognito and not be forced to reveal your birth gender in official situations particularly travel.

    I would really welcome the opportunity to be able to have a second passport or driving licence in my acquired gender since this fits in well with the dual gendered natured of my transgender situation. Not everyone from the transgender community will wish to change gender permanently but simply live in both roles. This is where the legislation often fails since it is either one gender or the other.

    Best wishes Lynne with your work in this area.

  24. @Zoe. Two passports would be an ideal solution, although we would probably be stung by double the cost…

  25. As a transitioning woman, I have my new passport (produced promptly and without issue from the Passport Service). Other public bodies, DVLA, NHS, HMRC cooperated rapidly and without complications for the most part.

    I want one identity, which reflects the reality of my life and experience. Thereagain, I am transitioning and in that sense it’s simple.

    I have yet to receive a GRC, but have already been on the receiving end of offensive misreadings of the law – mostly by financial sector businesses. All of these insisted on NOT changing my gender until they SEE a GRC. Even when the product they were selling me was unaffected by gender.

    There is an assumption of intent to deceive within the practice of many private sector companies. It’s hard to avoid the feeling that their cooperation is as best patchy and usually based on almost no understanding of the issue, and that without coercion they would do nothing at all. Whilst good practice is to change gender on records on production of appropriate medical support, many many companies create the impression that they do not support the rights of TS people to be recognised in the correct gender until they are absolutely FORCED to, and sometimes barely then. And then they insist on seeing a GRC.

    The most surreal was one insurance company to whom I made a big fuss. After coming up with a whole range of sometimes conflicting reasons why they would not change my gender marker (and this was not for a gender-influenced product like a pension), they consulted their lawyers. The lawyers were dismissive in the extreme, and brushed aside the information that the Immigration and Passport Service (a body which takes identity fairly seriously!) had given me a female passport with the response “They were wrong”.

  26. Pingback: ID in the News» Blog Archive » Trans identity

  27. @Natacha – why only two? That would seem to be a partial offering that shoves those who don’t identify either male or female under the bus. That’s hardly an ideal solution.

  28. @Sarah – Passports are subject to international standards, particularly the machine readable bit. It’s much more work to update passports to remove the gender marker (And possibly replace first name by an initial too?) particularly given some foreign parts aren’t exactly going to be on board with the whole trans rights thing. There’s not a lot they can do about issuing two passports however. (Visas could get interesting, I haven’t really thought that much through)

  29. “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.”

    I have never had a passport in my new name. I don’t plan on travelling abroad and as far as I know there’s no legal requirement to possess one. I have my GRC. I submitted a selection of about half-a-dozen documents from a two year period that covered my transition and that was sufficient. I understand that the GRP will take the two year period as having started from the point that one executes the change of name instrument, either deed poll on change of name or statutory declaration.

    You’d have to confirm this with the GRP themselves, but I hope that dispels any worries among those who have yet to transition, particularly if they are unwaged, that they will have to pay for a passport in order to transition.

    With regard to the GRC itself, I was not allowed to change my gender with my pension company until I had produced a copy of the document. I created merry hell for them and even had them through the ICO for refusing to change my title which is linked on their system. I have retained the correspondence for future reference.

    Thank you, Christine for pointing out that “…it would potentially lead to a breach of Section 22 of the GRA if someone demanded to see a GRC and kept a record (open to a third party) of having seen one.”

    I will look into this. Naturally, there was no breach at the time as they had to be aware of my transition, but if they have retained this knowledge, I will see that they are brought to account for it. It’s about time I spent £10 on a subject access request.

    I have recently taken to task a building society over their change of name document which asks for a GRC as part of a change of gender process. It’s still there on their website despite that they said that they’d have it changed. With the FSA being disbanded, I’m not sure where to take this.

  30. @Sarah – By two genders I did not necessarily mean male & female, you could be female and neutrois for example. The problem would be with getting any government to agree to recognise gender identities outside the binary. I think Australia came close recently but this was rescinded. My main point was that we should be able to have ID in two identities if this reflects the way we live our lives. Once we have this available to us I do not envisage any problem with more than two for those who need it, but that would mean fighting the battle of recognising genders other than men and women first, something which, as you know I would thoroughly endorse. This is why I am suggesting that ownership of gender identity should be returned to the individual rather than being held by the government. It should be up to us to decide on our gender not the state.

  31. Lynne

    People who were there tell me that you were heckled and jeered at the TUC LGBT conference. Can this possibly be true?

    Can I ask you a simple question?

    If, g*d forbid, a member of the trans community was subjected to the horror of rape- a hate crime very much towards the top of the scale- do you or do you not support anonymity for the the alleged male rapist?

  32. This goes wrbng right from the beginning with the idea that there is such a thing as “the transgender community”. There isn’t.
    I am a gay man and there is no “gay community”. Nor is there a “lesbian community”. Nor is there a “bisexual community”.
    We are all individuals and our “orientation” is just one aspect of our personalities. It no more makes us part of any “community” than does any other characteristic.
    To suggest that it does so conveys a totally wrong impression to the general public, that we are somehow set apart from them. Removal of anti-gay legislation and establishment of civil partnerhips have led to public acceptance, so that we are all now in the mainstream of society. All this nonsense about “communities” gives a totally false impression of us, and sets us BACK in that acceptance process.

  33. disagree that there is no trans community. Trans people are roughly at the same stage as the LGB community was in the 60s & 70s, OK legislation may be a bit better for us now than it was for LGB people then, but in terms of public acceptance we are way behind. You only have to take a squint at the transphobic garbage being spewed out on this thread on Mumsnet to get a feel of this;

    The term “Transgender” to be used as an umbrella word for all trans people has actually been phenomenally successful, despite being only 18 years old, and has brought trans people together in a way which has enabled us to make a lot of progress, at least in terms of supporting each other and raising confidence. I can see why you say there is no gay community but there is still a trans community and, for the most part a willingness to support one another. This solidarity is important and should be maintained.

  34. Lynne,

    >Also – with regard to other trans issues – like the requirement to get divorced in order to get the GRC – this will be part of what the transgender action plan looks at.

    Will there be any looking at retrospective changes for those of us who – very reluctantly – took the path of getting divorced as the lesser of two evils?

  35. @Sarah: thankfully, the big ‘we are watching you’ database and the huge network of bespoke terminals for reading the ID cards was never feasible, but I do agree that the fear was there. Both the impossibility and the fear were things that the previous govt totally failed to understand, and it was sad that Meg Hillier, a very intelligent person, got dragged into promoting the ID card project.
    There is merit in a passport card (which is what the ID card was at heart, before all the activity database rubbish was loaded onto it), and one of the posts here demonstrates that.

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  38. Lynne,

    >Also – with regard to other trans issues – like the requirement to get divorced in order to get the GRC – this will be part of what the transgender action plan looks at.

    >Will there be any looking at retrospective changes for those of us who – very reluctantly – took the path of getting divorced as the lesser of two evils?

    Given that the civil partnership was ‘sold’ to the trans community as having nothing to do with sexual orientation, the effect of UK law since has been that a cp has an assumed sexual orientation (not heterosexual!).

    I did not take the cp route but have a lot of sympathy for those that did and they must be included in the trans marriage solution. You can then develop the cp explicitly for the gay community.

  39. Paula,

    It is wrong to suggest “developing the cp for the gay community”. The whole idea of “marriage straight, cp gay” fails for trans individuals who wish to stay with the same life partner through transition. I fundamentally believe that the only sane solution is to expunge gender markers from the whole marriage process (just as Julian Huppert proposed for passports and other ID), to accept that people’s identification can change with time, to unify existing marriages and cps and simply allow ANY two competent adult individuals, regardless of how they identify, to marry.

  40. I agree with Julia. While marriage is only for those of different gender, my transgender journey will never be complete. Our life partnership means to us what it says and divorce is out of the question – so under present law I can never be fully recognised or legally protected in a new gender. Solving that is the big issue; ID cards were only a partial fix to ease a process.

  41. Hi Julia

    I am am great fan of gender neutral marriage. It solves most problems and is the ultimate in removing all forms of discrimination from relationship law. I know that Peter Tatchell takes a similar view but others in the gay community are content with cp.

    My comment was made based on revelations in the press that government policy was to ‘turn’ the cp into more of a gay marriage relationship. Thus, if they have decided to pursue this route, then solving the trans marriage problem first would allow it greater flexibility.

    The end game must surely be church marriage (allowing churches to decide whom they marry) and civil marriage (open to all).

    There needs to be a balanced ‘peace-treaty’ between religion and trans/sexual orientation. I for one am upset when there is religious influence in law making that has counted against the trans community(many of whom have religious views!). Indeed, religion is the one thing we are not born with and some may then consider this to be a lifestyle choice and thus must never ‘trump’ other stands.

    I wonder if government is sufficiently brave to solve the above in one step or does it see a need for an interim step to address trans first?

    Who dares wins!

  42. I am definately not in favour, nor do I see the need for dual identity documents for transsexual people. Identification in your newly aquired gender is easily available in the form of passports and driving licences at the appropriate time.

    Regarding GRC and pre-existing marriages I can see good reason to allow conversion of an existing marriage into a civil partnership. I see no case for people with a GRC to retain an existing mrriage until such a time that same sex marriage is allowed for other couples.

    Special treatment of transsexual people is not the route to equality.

  43. Dear DerbysWoman

    That is the point you as a cis person have greater rights than trans people. You can marry the person you love in your gender, we just want the same.

  44. Hi Stephanie

    You seem to assume that I am a cis woman. I do in fact have a transsexual histort but now consider myself the same as any other woman – that is the whole point of transition.

    If you transition and obtain a GRC then you do have the right to marry just as any other person.

    If you want to be able to have a same sex marriage then I do actually support you but that is only because I believe that marriage should be available to all loving couples regardless of their sex/gender.

  45. And in all of this, the difficult position of the spouse of a trans person must be considered. That person has to choose between her partner’s Human Rights/legal recognition and continuing the marriage. How awful!

    It is not clear who in government is considering the position of the trans person’s spouse. In my experience in dealing with GEO, MoJ and EHRC, such people have never been involved in consultation. Perhaps they might be too angry!!

  46. Firstly the possession of a credit card is proof that you are over 18 – therefore ID cards are a waste of money. See the consumer credit act.

    Why do we need a committee to award a GRC or a register of GRC’s – Surely the local registrar could do the necessary without involving a committee of lawyers or a register of GRC awards.

    There is no religious marriage in this country only civil marriage – Merge civil partnerships and civil marriage.

    Much more important is the NHS medical database – for this database to be useful to clinicians, it will have to be so insecure that almost anyone will be able to check on anyone’s medical history, address and contact number. Very useful for the bounty hunters and journalists.

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