Cisgender people may take it as commonplace, but filling out a passport form can fee alienating for those who do not identify with the male or female gender assigned to them at birth.
Fortunately, as awareness of LGBTQ issues continues to build, gender neutral UK passports are finally in the pipeline following a campaign by the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group.
The possibility of introducing a third X option alongside F and M is currently under governmental review after being advocated by the group, which released its five-year plan for trans equality on Wednesday.
X has been chosen because the International Civil Aviation Organisation currently permits the issuing of passports with that option for people who do not identify as male or female.
“Many trans people are afraid to travel abroad for fear of intrusive questioning or difficulties at passport control,” STAG says in its plan. “This can be especially worrying for those travelling with children, particularly if they had, or adopted, children when they were legally a different gender.”
There are an estimated 650,000 trans people in the UK. Many may still choose to use the F and M boxes, but the hope is that those who identify as non-binary will no longer feel forced to“live as someone they are not” due to their gender being considered legally invalid. STAG is concentrating their efforts on passports first, but wants the change to be applied to all official documents.
The government insists it is committed to improving the lives of trans people and is investing £3 million to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
“The UK already has strong laws in place to protect transgender people and we are committed to delivering further positive changes for them,” a spokesperson said. “That is why we have committed to reviewing the Gender Recognition Act to look at ways of streamlining and demedicalising the process for changing a person’s legal gender, as well as reviewing gender markers in official documents.”
There is currently debate over changing the colour of British passports back to their original blue after leaving the EU, but we think this change is a far more important option to discuss.