Dear Lord, how wonderful!

Passports and driving licences should not state if the holder is male or female because it causes “problems” for transgender people, a Tory MP has said.
Maria Miller, chair of the Commons Women and Equalities committee, said a person’s sex was “not relevant” on official documents, and it created an “unconscious bias” in job applications.

For such documents might even be used to identify people.

54 thoughts on “Dear Lord, how wonderful!”

  1. Weakening the trappings of tyranny is always a good idea –even if done for evil leftist nutjob reasons.

    It wouldn’t even be a problem in the case of certain honoured guests. Have not a several fled the country by practicing pillar-box trans-genderism already?

  2. What is so stupid about this is that it would render the document useless in most of the world. It might be very cool and edgy for British passport holders to not have their sex identified, but when you apply for a visa and this information is missing you’ll be told to fuck off.

  3. Will I have to wear a headscarf when I visit Iran ?

    Why stop at passports lets go unisex with sport and toilets

  4. mitch-

    Last I read, they’re now claiming about 1% of us are “trans”, in other words claiming a similar prevalence to gayness. The apparent low incidence previously being the result of closeting due to oppression by the cisarchy, etc etc.

  5. To be fair, it isn’t obvious why the government should hold unnecessary personal information about me, and I reckon my sex or self-identified gender or whatever you want to call it is one of them. It’s not like M vs F is a clear-cut biological distinction even if you take the reactionary/traditionalist line and discount or dismiss the “merely psychological” aspect of trans identity – there have always been intersex people.

    There is a practical issue with foreign recognition etc. But many countries in the world require socio-religious identity to appear on official documents (often with grave restrictions on getting them changed) and we do look at that as backwards, intrusive and coercive. Ultimately, collection of gender identity data is going to go the same way.

  6. Fine, so let’s stop worrying about gender equality, since there are no genders to be unequal. And have none of this gender thing in sports. Because it’s all in the mind.

    Of course it’s a clear cut biological distinction. The existence of a small number of congenital errors do not dispute that, they are proof of the distinction. If there were no distinct sexes, there would be no “inter” either.

  7. The idea is crass because it would reduce the efficacy of the UK passport as an identity document. If you are trying to find or identify someone solely on the basis of ‘gendered’ passport details, you can eliminate 50% (or c. 49.5%) of the population immediately.

    “Australia has decided to degender their passports”, states Maria Miller. Yet, as TN observes above, a ‘degendered’ passport would make applying for a visa impossible in many countries. So does anyone know (a) if the Aussie passport is ‘degendered’ and (b) if it is ‘degendered’, whether this causes problems for Aussies?

    Incidentally, since her Cabinet career ended after she over-claimed on expenses, Maria Miller has been cultivating the women and ‘equalities’ lobbies, and she has been popping up on BBC R4’s ghastly ‘Women Sour’. Presumably, she imagines that it will be a fast-track back to Cabinet rank – or to some lucrative post in a right-on quango that needs a Conservative woman to provide cover for its worthless left-inclined activities. Remember Lady (Elspeth) Howe?

  8. I have dual nationality and travelling once in subsharan Africa with one passport in my hand issued to Meissen Bison and another in my briefcase issued to Bison Meissen, I had no end of aggro from a customs official who was convinced that these were not the same person.

    So there’s a lot to be said for standardised travel documents the purpose of which, after all, is to enable you to travel rather than to feel comfortable with yourself.

  9. Bloke in Costa Rica

    When I applied to the ACRO for a police background check for visa paperwork, there was a box for M/F. So Plod still seem to care, the patriarchical bastards.

    Maria Miller’s a stupid cunt and should be jeered relentlessly until she either fucks off or tops herself, I’m not bothered.

  10. So does anyone know (a) if the Aussie passport is ‘degendered’ and (b) if it is ‘degendered’, whether this causes problems for Aussies?

    I don’t know, but I will quote from a wonderful email sent to me by an Australian friend a few years back:

    I am trying to deal with the Australian Embassy in Moscow to get a renewal of my 10 year passport. Is lobotamisation a prereq for working in an Embassy? While they struggle to renew my passport due to my holding 2 passport and this does not seem to appear on any of
    their flow charts they are solving other pressing issues, ie: I found the following amusing:

    Passports for sex and gender diverse applicants
    On Wednesday 14 September 2011, the government announced new guidelines to make it easier for sex and gender diverse people to get a passport in their preferred gender. Under the guidelines, sex reassignment surgery will no longer be a prerequisite to issue a passport in a person’s preferred gender. For more information please
    refer to the sex and gender diverse information page on this website, or email [email protected]

    So they dont know how to renew my passport because I hold 2, which is apparantly highly unusual for Australians who should technically not move beyond their back yards apart for the sanctioned annual blotto fest in Bali. However, I could feasibly get a new passport as a male without anyone looking for proof. Noice.

  11. So there’s a lot to be said for standardised travel documents the purpose of which, after all, is to enable you to travel rather than to feel comfortable with yourself.

    Indeed, and one of the few half-smart things the governments of the world have been doing is standardising the information contained in passports, putting it all on the same page of a passport, and arranging that page in the same way so that citizens who travel don’t have to spend hours explaining to some dimwitted official who they are.

  12. Tim N, until very recently it was illegal for Australian citizens to hold another passport, which is probably why they had so much trouble with it.

  13. Can that be right? It’s essential to have two passports if you have to travel a lot to countries that take time issuing visas. If you hand in your passport to Embassy x because you plan to visit x and they hang on to it for three weeks, you’re grounded without a second one.

  14. “Fine, so let’s stop worrying about gender equality, since there are no genders to be unequal. And have none of this gender thing in sports. Because it’s all in the mind”

    I never said there were no genders nor that it’s all in the mind. My main concern is not wanting the government to collect any more personal information about me than is absolutely necessary, and there are enough people in the world who do not fall neatly into a binary category to make the whole exercise a bit silly really (and unnecessarily intrusive and potentially offensive).

    The French state takes a very strict line on not collecting ethnic/race data. That clearly hasn’t solved either the problem of racism or the issue of racial inequality but I think the principle is to be applauded. Race, like sex, is a physically identifying characteristic – I am perfectly happy with the idea of police reports using racial and gendered language in descriptions of suspects, for instance. But I don’t think that belongs on my passport or driving licence either… partly because it is a matter of personal identity and partly because a strict category scheme can’t really capture the concept adequately. When British institutions insist on finding my ethnic/racial/cultural identity I prefer to tick the “Other” box just to stuff them.

  15. MBE-

    I’m not to be honest much interested in the government/liberty issue in this. There is so much State now, that it’s like arguing about a thimbleful of water in a flood.

    I really am concerned though about this latest campaign to deconstruct gender entirely, which is absolutely deliberate and what this is based upon. As a “liberal” said to me online about a decade ago, “deconstructing gender itself is the last great frontier”, which was mildly amusing as the other lefties on the website even question started like, “hey wait, what does that mean? Steady on, this gives us a bad name…” and so on.

    But this is what is happening. This isn’t around recognising medical conditions, or being kind to people, it is about teaching people to deny reality in favour of a deranged socio-political theory of class oppression (discussed ad nauseam in this and many other places) and another stick to beat everyone with.

    See, these people are clever in an evil kind of way. Previous extremist movements would pick on a minority as the enemy, and attack them. This lot, they’ve got a much better strategy, which is picking on a majority and making them hate and attack themselves. Ourselves. Whatever.

    Maria Miller is probably not evil, just stupid. She has no idea what she has bought into. But the people behind this are evil. Very, very evil indeed.

    By comparison, the State knowing whether or not I’m a bloke is neither here nor there, frankly. I’m much more worried when the State tells me to believe that there is no such thing as a bloke at all.

  16. Meissen Bison:

    Or for people who travel to Israel. There are quite a few Arab countries that won’t admit you if they see you’ve got an Israeli stamp in your passport.

  17. Tim N, until very recently it was illegal for Australian citizens to hold another passport, which is probably why they had so much trouble with it.

    She had two Australian passports.

  18. It’s essential to have two passports if you have to travel a lot to countries that take time issuing visas. If you hand in your passport to Embassy x because you plan to visit x and they hang on to it for three weeks, you’re grounded without a second one.

    Yup, I’ve had two for years.

  19. The French state takes a very strict line on not collecting ethnic/race data.

    Yes, but they did this in the full knowledge that the name gives the ethnicity away in France. As with the banning of the photos on CVs and so much else in France, they brought in a law which solved nothing while appearing to.

  20. I’d very much sgree with you, Ian. This isn’t about how the State descibes us. It’s about the State telling us how we should describe. ourselves.

  21. “This isn’t around recognising medical conditions, or being kind to people, it is about teaching people to deny reality in favour of a deranged socio-political theory of class oppression (discussed ad nauseam in this and many other places) and another stick to beat everyone with.”

    Fucking spot on.

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    Theo,

    That fat hag Miller had the Women and Equality brief when she was SoS and DCMS so she is well known in those circles, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s paid as some sort of consultant by one of the many NGOs in that field.

    Good look to anyone trying to get in (or out) of Saudi Arabia with a non-gendered passport.

    One of my former Army bosses went to work in sales for Racal in the ’80s and he has 3 passports, one of Israel, one for Arab countries and one for RoW, for the reasons outlined above.

  23. I can’t wait for the feminists to take up the cause of us left handers.
    we are picked on by military armies, greeters, violin makers, door makers etc – all tools of the patriarchy.

  24. “I’ve just had a look at my driving licence and can’t see anything stating my sex.”

    It’s part of the licence ref. The numeric part of the ref is your date of birth rearranged a bit. IIRC the fourth digit is 1 or 2 for man, 5 or 6 for a woman.

  25. Ah, the patriarchy imposing different rules for wimmin. Male drivers have the month of their birth as digit 2 and 3. Female drivers have the month of their birth changed by adding 50 as digit 2 and 3.

  26. The French state takes a very strict line on not collecting ethnic/race data

    You can’t argue that the number of black africans in over-represented in French jails, because they don’t count them. Voilà, the French state is not racist!

    The French state doesn’t collect race data for it’s own, very racist reasons.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    The Meissen Bison – “I have dual nationality and travelling once in subsharan Africa with one passport in my hand issued to Meissen Bison and another in my briefcase issued to Bison Meissen, I had no end of aggro from a customs official who was convinced that these were not the same person.”

    You are Hungarian? Surely the sensible solution was not to tell him about the other one?

    I am thinking if you work in the former Soviet Union, or anywhere else in the Third World, you should have two passports. In case this happens:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3382968/British-worker-detained-faces-five-years-Kyrgyzstan-jail-comparing-local-sausages-horse-penis.html

    In fairness he should have said he was British and so the sausages he is used to are made from horse penis.

  28. Re: Australian passports. It is not and never has been illegal to hold dual (Australian + other) nationalities. I hold UK and Australian passports: both nations allow this. The rules in OZ changed a couple of decades or so ago for people acquiring Australian nationality, who are now required to surrender their previous nationality.

    I have recently travelled to Australia using my valid UK passport and presented to the Australian immigration desk with my UK and expired Oz passports. No problems, no questions asked.

  29. The Tories, since Cameron took over, have made no secret of the fact that they are a New Labour party rather than a conservative or libertarian party.

  30. “So there’s a lot to be said for standardised travel documents”.

    There is a standard, DOC 9303 – Machine Readable Travel Documents.

    http://www.icao.int/Meetings/TAG-MRTD/TagMrtd22/TAG-MRTD-22_WP03-rev.pdf

    (Sex) is mandatory field, but X is an acceptable character in the visible/plain text field and < in the machine readable field.

    Visible:

    "Sex of the holder, to be specified by use of the single initial commonly used in the language of the State where the document is issued and, if translation into English, French or Spanish is necessary, followed by a dash and the capital letter F for female, M for male, or X for unspecified."……..

    2 line machine readable:
    "F = female; M = male; < = unspecified."

  31. SMFS: You are Hungarian? Surely the sensible solution was not to tell him about the other one?

    No, I’m not and I didn’t tell him about a second passport: he insisted on looking through my briefcase to see if there was anything in there he might “admire”.

  32. Matthew L. You avoid my point, which is that it is perfectly legal for Australians to hold dual nationality. I have British nationality because my parents were British-born. I have Australian nationality because I was born in Australia at a time when that automatically qualified you to be Australian. I wasn’t Australian who became British. I am both.

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