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There should be an ‘X’ gender option on passports

July 14, 2020 2:01 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who do not identify as exclusively male or female. Sadly - like other members of the LGBT+ community - far too many of them experience discrimination, harassment and hate crimes. Many avoid being open about their identity for fear of how others will treat them.

Non-binary people deserve to have their identities recognised and their dignity respected.

That is not acceptable. Non-binary people deserve to have their identities recognised and their dignity respected.

Yet, despite years of campaigning, the Conservative Government is still refusing to even allow non-binary genders to be recognised with an 'X' option on passports.

It's a relatively small change that would make a big difference to so many people's lives.

It would bring the UK into line with other countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Netherlands and New Zealand that already include non-binary gender options on passports, as well as 18 US states that allow residents to mark gender 'X' on their driving licence.

It's something Parliament's cross-party Women and Equalities Committee recommended back in 2016, and our own Norman Lamb secured cross-party support from 83 MPs for an Early Day Motion on it three years ago.

Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the rights and dignity of trans, intersex and non-binary people.

Yet Conservative Ministers have ignored these calls. Instead, they have chosen to waste taxpayers' money in the courts resisting a legal challenge to force it to introduce an 'X' gender option. I find it utterly incomprehensible that they still refuse to follow the example of so many other countries and make this change.

So today, on International Non-Binary People's Day, I've tabled a Private Members' Bill - the Non-gender-specific Passports Bill - to require the Government to introduce an 'X' gender option on passports for non-gendered, non-binary and other people who do not identify as, or exclusively as, male or female.

Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the rights and dignity of trans, intersex and non-binary people.

We must combat the hostility and discrimination that prevents too many people from living freely and fulfilling their potential.