National ID Card Petition

February 7, 2009

ID card (front) smallI wrote last November at some length about the potentially damaging implications of the implementation of the National Identity Scheme by the Home Office’s Identity & Passport Service (IPS).

In particular, I was deeply concerned by this (via the Daily Mail, perhaps surprisingly):

People who are undergoing a sex change will be allowed two cards – one in each gender. But they will also be forced to pay twice – landing them with a £60 bill.

It has decided they will have to hold a card in their current sex, which can be used for travel in the EU.

But they will also be able to apply for a card – with corresponding picture – in the name and sex they are undergoing treatment to become.

In other words, they will dress and appear as they will once the sex change is complete.

It’s not just that we are to be charged a double fee – although of course the classism is also an issue, the assumption that we can afford £60 (approx US $88) – but that we will be required to hold two ID cards, one in our pre-transition identity, and one post-transition.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is probably one of the most upfront examples of institutionalised transphobia I have seen so far – and the fact that the situation has arisen directly from the legal incoherence of the status of transsexual people hasn’t escaped me, either.

When I wrote my post, I was left with a sense of quietly despairing hopelessness – what can this one person do about it? – so I’m relieved to see my friends at Gender Spectrum UK have now organised an online petition to protest this blatantly iniquitous and outrageously discriminatory proposal.

Despite my reservations about the (in)effectiveness of online petitions generally – what happens to them? who reads them? are the signatories’ views taken into account? – in this case it seems it’s about the only voice we really have. So I urge any trans* person, and any cis* person who works in solidarity with us, to seriously consider adding your name to the petition – you can find it by clicking here.

In addition, Gender Spectrum UK have also made available for download a template for a suggested letter of protest to send to Robin Woodland at the Home Office – click here to access it.

The closing date for signing the petition is March 6.

The closing date for written representations to the Home Office is February 13 – the templates may be downloaded in either Word Document or PDF format.

A PDF copy of the draft legislation may be downloaded directly from here.

There is a Facebook group here.

The full press release from Gender Spectrum UK may be found here and I post it below in its entirety:

***** Press Release from Gender Spectrum UK *****
Friday 6th February 2009

Gender Spectrum UK (http://www.gsuk.org or http://www.pollik.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=84 ) wish to announce the launch of an on-line petition aimed at ensuring the safety of members of the community who do present themselves in a manner which is not the same as the gender to which they were assigned at birth.

The petition is asking the Government to address the current issues surrounding the draft guidelines for the National ID Card.

These guidelines require people to have their gender (determined as either Male or Female as reflected by their Birth Certificate) announced on the ID Card. If a person wishes to present in a manner that is not the same as their Birth Certificate they will have to undergo a process to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) or hold 2 ID cards. This means that unless a GRC is obtained, the person will need to have two ID cards. Both will be in the person’s legal name, but one will identify the person as male, the other as female. The one in the birth gender will be valid for travel throughout Europe, the other will not.

Once a full GRC has been issued, a single ID card will be issued in the acquired gender.

Each of these individual cards must be paid for in full. The initial proposed fee of £30 will only remain until 2012. Anyone who wishes to obtain a Passport must also obtain an ID card under the proposals.

The guidelines also state that the database will also keep details of your birth gender, even after a GRC has been issued.

We believe that there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. We believe that a person carrying two ID cards, each bearing details that conflict with the other, will be become vulnerable and at risk from harm from foreign security services or members of the public, particularly in volatile countries and/or situations. We believe that this puts many people’s lives at risk. We also believe that this puts many people who do not have a GRC in a vulnerable position.

For this reason we have taken two specific actions and would appreciate your support by taking action.

1. We have drafted a letter that you are welcome to download and send to Robin Woodland at the Home Office. You may use it in its entirety or as a template to compose your own letter
2. We have started an on-line petition which we would love you to sign

The document is available for download from: http://www.alisonwhelan.co.uk/id_cards.htm
It is available in both Word Document format and PDF format.

The on-line petition is available at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/TransID

Due to the closing date of the consultation period drawing near (13th February 2009), we have chosen to limit the petition to just one month. It is therefore important that anyone interested in supporting this takes action now. You must also send in your letters promptly as well.

The following is the text of the petition:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that the safety of the Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex and gender-queer Communities is not placed at risk by insisting that harmful data is kept on the National ID Database and that many should carry hold 2 ID cards, identifying them as belong to both male & female genders.

The draft guidelines for the National ID Card as they currently stand, with regards to transsexual people and others who choose to present in the gender opposite to that of their birth assignment them to: a Apply and pay for up to four different ID cards b Have two separate ID cards before a GRC can be obtained

The Database will keep a record of the birth gender, contrary to Government agreement when the GRA(2004) was passed into law. This is despite the fact that many people cannot obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) and that it is illegal to disclose whether a person is in possession of a GRC without explicit permission.

4 groups of people fall into a dangerous areas:
1 A transsexual person who has obtained a GRC
2 A transsexual person who lives full time in their acquired gender but have not yet applied for a GRC either:
a Because they are not yet entitled to apply for GRC
b Because they qualify to apply for a GRC, but are unable to apply for reasons such as pre-existing marriage or lack of reqrd medical evidence
c Because they choose not to apply for, or are unaware of the availability of, a GRC.
3 A person who lives part time in each gender
4 A person who lives outside the gender binary

Gender Spectrum UK

FORWARDING: Whilst we welcome posts being forwarded to third parties, we do ask that you forward this message in its entirety, complete with its attribution and this footer.

(Abridged version cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia)

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ETA: Curtsey to Alma Cork for pointing out (in the comments to my cross-post at QT) that the NO2ID site is a useful resource ‘for people who want learn more about this highly dubious legislation’.

Oh, and I’ve rounded up a few links and added a new link category in my sidebar…

7 Responses to “National ID Card Petition”


  1. [...] (Cross-posted at bird of paradox) [...]

  2. Ruth Moss Says:

    Signed, & posted petition to twitter updates & facebook status.

  3. Helen G Says:

    Thank you!

  4. Depresso Says:

    Also signed.

    Perhaps I’m being naive and ignorant, but why couldn’t the government reissue a card (at no cost!) at a point along the transition from one sex to another? I realise that would leave out people who choose neither gender.

    From where I’m looking right now, it wouldn’t cost me that much to change all my legal documentation to my husband’s name though I gather it’s a headache. And I would never be required to keep documentation detailing my pre-married identity. Why is required in this case?

    Bah, I’m just sounding blinded by cis privilege, I’m sure. It’s just that, if someone alters their gender identity (not even requiring surgery), isn’t the initial identity pretty much nonexistant?

    Sorry if I’m blundering in to this like some Republican driving an SUV into Planned Parenthood, I hope you’ll forgive any offense I might have caused.


  5. [...] National ID Card Petition It’s not just that we are to be charged a double fee – although of course the classism is also an issue, the assumption that we can afford £60 (approx US $8 – but that we will be required to hold two ID cards, one in our pre-transition identity, and one post-transition. [...]


  6. [...] picked up on this one via Helen at Bird of Paradox, who has some very sensible things to say about the whole thing here. She also links to an online [...]


  7. [...] at Bird of Paradox draws attention to yet more failings of the National ID Card scheme: that trans-gendered people will be required to hold two cards – one [...]


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