Calls for UK passports to be gender neutral

2016-01-02
A senior Conservative British MP has said identity documents including passports and driving licenses should be gender neutral to be more accommodating to the transgender community. Tory minister Maria Miller, who served as the former culture secretary, said a person’s gender was irrelevant on identity documents and also caused an “unconscious bias” during employment and university applications, reports The Guardian. “As a society and a government we should be looking at ways of trying to strip back talking about gender, and only do that when it’s absolutely necessary,” she said in an interview with the Times. “We need to understand that gender stereotyping can be as damaging for men as it can be for women. For individuals who have decided to transition but haven’t necessarily got the right documentation, it can cause problems. “Why do we need gender on our driving licence? Why do we have to have it on our passport if it doesn’t really add identification? It’s not relevant. Australia has decided to de-gender their passports.” Miller’s comments were made during a transgender equality inquiry held by the Women and Equalities Committee, of which Miller is currently the Chair, where NHS England provided evidence 4,500 gender-identity services referrals were made each year, and included large amounts of children. Last year, Minister for women and equalities Nicky Morgan said the government was open to discussion on when people should state their gender, reports The Telegraph. “When and why do we need to know about people’s genders? I think that’s a big debate that needs to be had,” she said. “In one way: what does it matter what someone’s sex is."