Legal Recognition of Non-Gendered Identity in the United Kingdom

Christie Elan-Cane


Issue 38
Summer 2007

For the latest information
see http://elancane.

Following a recent meeting with Simon Hughes MP I am pleased to announce work has begun on drawing up the draft content of a Presentation Bill that would offer legal and social recognition to individuals who do not identify as male or female within the United Kingdom. The Presentation Bill will argue for a non gender-specific option to be included alongside existing male and female gendered options on legal and official documentation in the UK.

Those who do not identify as male or female are forced to conceal the true identity in order to function within the gendered social construct and are thus denied an identity and denied the basic human dignity of legitimate existence. Excluded from the gender system, to be openly non-gendered means exclusion from protection through rights and privileges taken for granted by most citizens within the UK and the wider democratic world. To be non-gendered is to have no voice as gendered society does not recognise the non-gendered identity as legitimate. To be non-gendered is to suffer oppression through ignorance and routine discrimination from the majority who benefit from their place within the gendered social system.

It has been agreed the Bill will cover a fairly broad format and that the proposed introduction of a non gender-specific option on documentation could be used by individuals who do not regard themselves as male or female. This will include the non-gendered identity but will not exclude other identities that currently have no social definition. The proposed Bill will not be seeking the removal of male/female options and neither will the Bill use language that could be construed as controversial (as we need to present a case that will convince rather than scare people off!).

It is hoped the Bill will be published for consultation in the Autumn of this year. No final decision has been reached concerning short or long title for the Bill.

The Office for National Statistics have concluded the initial stage of public consultation for the 2011 Census. It is however not too late to make representation to the second stage of the consultation process. I have suggested to the policy group within ONS that a third option of non-gender specific (an umbrella option that can include non-gendered identity and all identities that are not male or female) is added to the required field concerning gender. I understand this second stage of consultation will continue for some time and is still receiving written representation from interested parties. I found the attitude of ONS surprisingly progressive and open to discussion on the issue.

It has taken a very long time to get to this stage and I hope sincerely that I can provide more regular progress updates in the future. My mailing list is small and I'd cautiously like to expand it. If you know of someone who is affected by this issue or an interested organisation, please ask them to write to me and request to be added to the list.

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