The Contemplations, Rants & Reminiscences of DavidB327

Something Sensational To Read On The Train


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Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Introduction of gender-neutral public announcements on London’s transport network

Regular travellers on London’s tube network might have noticed by now that new public announcements are being rolled out to replace the ubiquitous “Ladies and Gentlemen ……” with the more inclusive “Customers ……” or “Passengers ……”

Transport for London (TfL) management responded positively to my approach and suggestion that public announcements throughout the tube network should use gender-neutral terms.

I had noticed there was not much discernible change after a period of six months and followed-up to question how the change was being implemented. I was pleasantly surprised.

TfL management does understand the significance of the issue and the aim is not just to introduce gender-neutral public announcements on the tube but to establish continuity across London’s entire transport network, incorporating bus services where drivers are employed by other operators under TfL jurisdiction.

This represents an organisational change where ongoing training and guidance will be provided across the TfL organisation in order that employees become familiar with the new announcements. Some staff members have worked with the organisation for more than 20 years and need to acclimatise to the new terminology however new staff will receive appropriate guidance from the outset and eventually all TfL public announcements will be gender neutral.

I’d like feedback on your experiences traveling on TfL.

Write to Christie.Elan-Cane@ukgateway.net and let me know which areas, stations etc. are getting it right and where TfL needs to improve. This is a fact finding and not a name and shame exercise.

Your name and details will not be forwarded to TfL.


EDM 11

Don’t forget to contact your MP and urge their support for ‘X’ Passports. The aim is still to exceed 100 signatures in time for a parliamentary debate to be called before end of this session.

MP signatories to date.


Life Beyond Bizarre!

Don’t forget to read my latest blog on HuffPost UK. Events that led to the start of my campaign for legitimate identity as a fundamental human right. Far more bitter than sweet.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered

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davidbr1
Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Life Beyond Bizarre!

Just a quick note that my latest blog can be found on HuffPost UK


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered

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davidbr1
Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure




CALLING UPON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO COME THROUGH FOR ‘X’ PASSPORTS IN THE US

Calling upon President Barack Obama to push the US Department of State and its associated agencies for the fast introduction of non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports in the US right now!

Please retweet!


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered

Our Silver Anniversary
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Wednesday 06 April turned out to be a lovely day, and everything that I had hoped for. Thanks very much to everyone that passed on their best wishes for both of us.
In the evening we had a wonderful meal at Celeste, the restaurant at the Lanesborough hotel in Knightsbridge. We’ve been there many times over the years, but this was our first visit since the hotel’s refurbishment.
The cuisine had changed from Italian to French. Another change from the Apsleys days was the appreciation that some customers are vegetarian. There’s a vegetarian tasting menu, and vegetarian options in the a la carte menu, so no need to worry.
On the drink side, we started with a glass of champagne, as one would expect on an auspicious occasion. To accompany the food, we opted for Musar. It’s a great wine, from an area (the Lebanon) that could well do with our support.
The service was attentive and friendly,and everything went at our pace. There was also live music, from a pianist, who played a mixture of classical and popular music. It all helped to create a very relaxed atmosphere. Can’t wait to go back there.
Whenever we have a romantic evening, my mind turns to our beloved Campania, and in particular Sorrento. So even though we spent an evening at a French restaurant, Pavarotti’s version of this Neapolitan song is the perfect accompaniment to this post. Return to Sorrento we will, and indeed also Capri – but that’s another story.

In my post of 17 March I inadvertently neglected to include an important final paragraph. This was with reference to how I felt, after learning of the untimely death of David Bowie. Since I am now 60 myself, this was a reminder of how little time we have available to us. It reinforced to me the need to make the most of the time I have to spend with Christie. I would like to think that we will both be around to celebrate our Golden Anniversary, but one can not make such assumptions. So in the meantime I will strive to focus on what is really important, and not dwell on non-productive, less important matters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbUfpQ9Nmbw

Our Silver Anniversary Beckons
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On Wednesday 06 April 2016 it will be exactly 25 years since I first met Christie Elan-Cane. That evening started at Sadler’s Wells, where I saw a performance of Onnagata by the Lindsay Kemp Company. After the theatre I went to the club Smithys, where I met Christie. We were introduced by a mutual friend. It was a remarkable coincidence that this should happen, as both of us had only known our mutual friend for a short time. I guess that could be construed as being destiny. Well wherever you are now Janey, I will be forever in your debt. I hope you are doing well.
I am very proud to be Christie’s partner. The love and support I get from this wonderful person is a great comfort. It is a wonderful feeling, knowing that there will always be someone there for me. Given that we have been in a stable, loving relationship for well over 20 years, it will not be a surprise that we both earnestly want to get married. Yet at this point in time we are prevented from doing so. Currently we could only get married by denying Christie’s non-gendered identity. Neither of us are prepared to do so.
The previous Tory led UK government were responsible for the now notorious Trans Equality Action Plan, and for the implementation of legislation that was originally Civil Marriage. The latter eventually became Same Sex Marriage, though it has been also referred to (incorrectly) as Equal Marriage. The Liberal Democrat party betrayed their liberal principles. So called gender inequality within the royal family was tackled with great gusto. This got a lot of attention, but was hardly a priority. Yet the human rights of a vulnerable minority were ignored. I may well vote Liberal Democrat again in the future, but I am no longer a member of that party.
I remain at heart an optimist. I believe that one day we will be able to get married. If we have to relocate to another country in order to achieve that, then so be it. My relationship is more important than anything else, and certainly my country just happens to be where I was born.

The death of David Bowie in January came as a great shock. He was such an iconic figure for both of us. I have always loved his music. I could not choose a favourite album, but Station to Station has always been for me one of the best. As our anniversary approaches, this song suits my mood just right. The lyrics are spot on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbpMpRq6DV4

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davidbr1
Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



EARLY DAY MOTION 660

More than 60 MPs have added their signatures to EDM 660 in support for ‘X’ Passports in the UK.

80 MPs supported EDM 47 for ‘X’ Passports in the last parliamentary session. An incredible achievement!

Now aiming for 100+ signatures for EDM 660 before end of this session – and still enough time to achieve.

Has your MP signed the motion?


Contact your local MP and urge their support for EDM 660 – MP contact details can be found here


Spectator item

Following on from my 29 January 2016 entry on this site, I have lodged a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in response to item that was recently published by The Spectator magazine.

I will update further in due course.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

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Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



Is the UK Government about to U-Turn on ‘X’ Passports?

An announcement last July that ‘Transgender Equality’ was to be the focus of a fledgling Women and Equalities Committee’s inaugural inquirytook many people by surprise.

On 14 January 2016, the Select Committee duly reported its findings and key recommendations.

One particular recommendation predictably found attention – that “The UK must follow Australia’s lead in introducing an option to record gender (sic) as “X” on a passport.

The recommendation was in sharp contrast to current Government policy “…..it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents”.

The Committee’s recommendation for ‘X’ Passports was definitive whereas recommendations pertaining to wider issues surrounding non-gendered identity were opaque. The Committee suggested “a wholesale review of issues” and that “The Government must look into the need to create a [third] legal category …… and the full implications of this.” with an admission the issues were “beyond the scope of our inquiry”.

But there was nothing opaque about the recommendation for ‘X’ Passports. The UK Government “must” introduce ‘X’ as an option. As is often the case, the truth hides behind smoke and mirrors.

Committee Chair Maria Miller previously had ultimate responsibility over an extensive ‘Equalities’ portfolio while Government was furiously backpedalling to renege upon an earlier commitment to consider proposals for the issuance of ‘X’ Passports in the UK. Government backpedalled so furiously that a policy review by the former Identity and Passport Service, now HM Passport Office (HMPO) was effectively nothing more than a sham.

The UK Government’s rejection of ‘X’ Passports appeared on the surface to have been a decision taken unilaterally by HMPO.

HMPO’s discriminatory policy was about to come under legal scrutiny through a proposed judicial review application.

In October 2014 HMPO was stripped of its semi-autonomous ‘executive agency’ status and lost the independence that blurred the lines on policy decision making. HMPO is now part of the Home Office therefore Government cannot remain distanced on this issue.

HMPO’s position is untenable given the overriding need for non gender-specific documentation as highlighted in the Committee’s report. Maria Miller has effectively distanced herself while HMPO favours the upholding of a shameful discriminatory policy.

More details about background to this can be found here

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

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davidbr1
Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure




Spectator Article

The Women and Equalities Committee’s ‘Transgender Equality’ report was targeted by controversial commentator Melanie Phillips in a dangerously ill-informed article that recently appeared in right-wing publication The Spectator.

Phillips took issue that my non gender-specific pronoun ‘per’ was recognised within the report whilst completely failing to note the valid point I was making when I reminded the Committee that the former coalition government’s discredited trans* equality action plan was “all plan and no action”.

Among other things, Phillips decried the Committee’s positive stance on trans* depathologisation and described the encouragement of transphobic hate crime reporting as “sinister”.

An accompanying podcast featured a discussion with Phillips and a representative from the Civil Service trans* support organisation ‘a:gender’. Far from challenging Phillips on her reprehensible views, the a:gender representative appeared to cede to them. But a:gender does have form in this respect. This organisation’s dinosaur views are further to the right of the political spectrum than Phillips could ever hope to be. A trans* ‘support’ organisation that does not believe in personal autonomy nor does it believe in the fundamental right of legitimate identity. The organisation is vehemently against the principle of non gender-specific option ‘X’ for those who do not define as male or female because they feel that provision for non-gendered people somehow undermines them! Its senior members cannot accept the reality of trans* experience outside stereotypical male and female gendered roles and they seek to deny legitimacy to those whose identities do not fit into their limited world view. There is no logic to their argument. Just old fashioned ignorance and bigotry.

One must ask therefore, what exactly is the message being conveyed by a:gender away from the public gaze? The group’s senior members act as policy advisers to the UK Government on trans* issues and yet they are unaccountable to those whose lives are impacted by Government decisions because they are not ‘public’ figures. With this in mind, one might begin to understand why there has been such a distinct lack of progress on trans* issues in the UK and why commitments made by Government under the trans* equality action plan never got to see the light of day.

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

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davidbr1
Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



UK GOVERNMENT TRANS* EQUALITY REPORT

The Women and Equalities Select Committee report subsequent to last year’s trans* equality inquiry is published and can be found here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmwomeq/390/390.pdf.

More than 200 written submissions were received and a series of five oral evidence sessions were held before the Committee. I was invited to sit on the panel for the third oral evidence session held in October.

There was speculation that recommendations made in the report would be to propose to improve the process of legal recognition for gendered trans* people in the United Kingdom in response to criticism that the UK is lagging far behind other countries in a progressive move towards self-determination that has already taken place in Argentina, Malta, Denmark and Ireland.

The report does indeed recommend that “within the current Parliament” the Government must bring forward proposals to update the Gender Recognition Act 2004, to move towards a model focused upon self-determination in place of a current model focused upon state interference and pathologisation “as such, it runs contrary to the dignity and personal autonomy of applicants.”

For non-gendered trans* people the picture remains, predictably, not straightforward. The Committee has admitted that the former coalition government’s trans* equality action plan remains “largely unimplemented” and says that Government must agree a new strategy within the next six months that includes tackling areas of the old action plan that were not addressed before (which, from my recollection, is pretty much all of it). The Committee recommends a “wholesale review” of issues facing non-gendered people.

As a reminder, I ‘engaged’ with the previous Government and made a number of recommendations most of which I was told at the time were “not going to happen” by civil servants who were more sympathetic than those who replaced them at the GEO after Government reshuffle in 2012.

I made a video after accidentally stumbling on the fact that YouTube had removed an unnecessary requirement that users should be gendered in order to use its services. I explained the issue and the need for change. I also outlined my recommendations and what I had hoped to achieve from the trans* equality action plan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ3I5XiwDd8

At one time I was going to delete the video because when it was made I had reached a point of complete physical and psychological exhaustion that really hit me a few months later when I became so fucking ill I was seriously concerned that when I went to sleep I might not wake up again. In the event I kept the video because it serves as a poignant reminder for me just how bad things were and how hard I had to fight through the political process, pushing for EDMs, countless meetings, endless correspondence and ongoing research over several years just to get this far.

The trans* equality action plan did incorporate an announcement of a policy “review” on ‘X’ Passports and that healthcare services should engage on the issue. There was subsequent engagement with the Department of Health but this was really not my area and I stepped back once it was apparent there were others involved with more direct knowledge and expertise in the procurement and delivery of healthcare services. I was more concerned with ‘X’ Passports as the gateway to legitimise non-gendered identity in the eyes of the law and in the public perception.

Back to the present, I had anticipated the Committee would recommend the trialling of ‘X’ Passports with cautions and caveats. What is recommended here is that “The UK must follow Australia’s lead in introducing an option to record gender (sic) as “X” on a passport……… In the longer term, consideration should be given for the removal of gender (sic) from passports.”

With this recommendation the Committee has gone further than I had expected and making HM Passport Office’s refusal to permit the issuing of ‘X’ Passports appear even more untenable. That the UK Government is being strongly encouraged by the Committee to accommodate the needs of individuals whose identities cannot be defined as either male or female is very welcome but nonetheless a token recommendation that in isolation does not go anything like far enough to address the wider issues surrounding non-gendered identity.

And, critically, the Committee recommends that “The Government must look into the need” effectively to create a third legal category, however that the Government must also look into “the full implications of this”. On surface value the Committee has recommended the creation of a recognised third category in order to embrace and accommodate members of society who do not define as either male or female. But I am getting an uncomfortable sense that what is being said is something else entirely. Government has already made clear its perception of the issue and those who are affected by it “it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents”. And one must ask what chance is there that Government will acknowledge “the need” when the needs of a socially invisible minority are weighted against “the full implications of this”.

A “wholesale review” but without further specification. The “review” announced four years ago as part of the trans* equality action plan over proposals in favour of the issuing of ‘X’ Passports amounted to nothing more than a means by which Government believed it could kick ‘X’ Passports into the long grass after HM Passport Office’s unequivocal rejection of the proposals. There was no proper review and I was fobbed off time and again by civil servants over an extended period. I anticipate that in due course another ‘review’ will be announced by the GEO and I fear the end result probably will be the same.

There is the specific issue of marriage where one (or both) partner/s does not identify as either male or female. That non-gendered people are forced to register under an inappropriate gendered role in order to be able to marry was not addressed at all in this report and possibly this is one of those areas the Committee had in mind where it urges Government to consider “the full implications of this”.

It was noted that advice was similarly vague on the repugnant “spousal veto” where the recommendation to Government was to be “informed” and then to find “ways of addressing the problem” rather than outright recommendation that the veto is scrapped.

The Committee recommends that Government should be moving towards “non-gendering” official records as a “general principle”. While I would always advocate for non-gendering as a general principle, I suspect this particular “non-gendering” would not significantly increase the visibility of non-gendered people who want to be recognised as non-gendered. The “non-gendering” would apply to everyone and therefore gender would be assumed even if not directly asked on a form. I would favour a third option, preferably ‘X’ on identification documentation and records held by government departments. It is within the commercial sector that blanket “non-gendering” should be applied as the rule but the commercial sector was not covered by the Committee’s inquiry.

The Committee did refer to the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law adopted by the International Commission of Jurists in 2007 and to Resolution 2048 adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in April 2015. In the latter it was recommended that national governments should “consider including a third gender option in identity documents for those who seek it”.

The UK has an appalling record on trans* issues and is shown again to be dragging its feet as other countries have moved ahead with self-determinism in recognition of changing times. Some of the Committee’s recommendations would, if acted upon, bring the UK broadly into line with what is happening elsewhere. While gendered trans* people would benefit from these changes, as I’ve said before, the picture for non-gendered people is not straightforward. The Committee has made some welcome recommendations however this report needs to be read very carefully indeed.

It should be remembered that the Committee can make recommendations but the Committee does not have the power to change the law.

It should also be pointed out (see Para. 285 in the report) that the law does not need to be changed in order for ‘X’ Passports to be issued. All that is required is an administrative change along with a willingness to improve the lives of non-gendered people.

My Submissions to the Inquiry

Oral evidence session 13/10/15: http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/4e7f52c6-1357-43f8-98c0-af160b156b40
Written evidence (submitted by K&L Gates LLP on my behalf): http://data.parliament.uk/WrittenEvidence/CommitteeEvidence.svc/EvidenceDocument/Women%20and%20Equalities/Transgender%20Equality/written/19430.html
And:
http://data.parliament.uk/WrittenEvidence/CommitteeEvidence.svc/EvidenceDocument/Women%20and%20Equalities/Transgender%20Equality/written/24075.html


Early Day Motion (EDM) 660

EDM 660 now has support from more than 50 sitting MPs. With the recommendation of the Committee that the UK Government should introduce ‘X’ Passports there is no better time to contact your local MP and elicit their support http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/660.


Blogging on Huffington Post UK

NON-GENDERED – Fighting for Legal Recognition
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/christie-elancane/non-gendered_b_8870260.html

No Specific Detriment?
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/christie-elancane/no-specific-detriment_b_8902698.html

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

post
Body Painting1
davidbr1
Originally posted by elancane at post
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE
NON-GENDERED
Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure



UK GOVERNMENT TRANS* EQUALITY REPORT

The Women and Equalities Select Committee has announced Thursday, 14 January 2016 as the publication date of its report after last year’s trans* equality inquiry. While there is speculation that recommendations will propose to improve the process of legal recognition for trans* people in the UK it should be remembered the Committee does not have the power to change the law and it is feared that proposals will fall short of what is necessary.

The necessity for non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports became a focal point of my campaign because the precedent for ‘X’ Passports had already been set. ‘X’ Passports were permitted in accordance with an international standard and it was feasible for ‘X’ Passports to be issued in the UK. The implementation of ‘X’ Passports in the UK should have been straightforward. I had not initially anticipated nor been prepared for the lengths that Government civil servants and others would go to in order to prevent the introduction of ‘X’ Passports.

Judging from comments made by the Committee, it would appear the Committee were broadly in agreement there is no logic to HM Passport Office’s ongoing refusal to countenance the introduction of ‘X’ Passports and I am reasonably certain, without having seen the report, that the Committee will recommend the trialling of ‘X’ Passports with cautions and caveats.

A token recommendation in favour of ‘X’ Passports for those who require non gender-specific documentation would be welcome (albeit very much overdue) however does not go anything like far enough to address the wider issue. The Ministry of Justice’s recent ill-timed intervention serves as a reminder, and the subject of my second HuffPostUK Blog:

No Specific Detriment?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/christie-elancane/no-specific-detriment_b_8902698.html?utm_hp_ref=transbritain


The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered
 

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