Tens of thousands sign petition demanding Tory government make non-binary a legal gender

Vic Parsons May 4, 2021
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122,000 people demand UK legally recognises non-binary people

A non-binary pride flag on top of giant trans pride flag in Spain. (Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A petition urging the government to make non-binary a legally recognised gender in the UK has been signed by 122,206 people and counting.

“Have non-binary be included as an option under the GRP (Gender Recognition Panel)/GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate), in order to allow those identifying as non binary to be legally seen as their true gender identity,” the petition says. “As well as having ‘non-binary’ be seen as a valid transgender identity.”

It continues: “There is no option of ‘non-binary’ on legal forms, ignoring members of the population. This requires the government to pass a law that publicly recognises ‘non-binary’ as a part of the GRP under the Gender Recognition Act, aka, a legal and valid gender identity option.

“By recognising non-binary as a valid gender identity, it would aid in the protection of non-binary individuals against transphobic hate crimes, and would ease gender dysphoria experienced by non-binary people.”

Parliament will consider whether to have a debate on the subject, as it must for all petitions that garner more than 100,000 signatures. And as it reached more than 10,000 signatures the government will also have to formally respond to the demand.

It has done neither yet.

In the UK, adult trans men and women who want to gain legal recognition of their gender through the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) must have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and two medical reports.

The government recently reduced the application fee for a Gender Recognition Certificate from £140 to £5, although this doesn’t affect the cost of providing the documentation to the Gender Recognition Panel, the cost of a new birth certificate, or the cost of other associated and compulsory changes such as a deed poll or passport.

In a 2018 consultation on reforming the GRA, 58 per cent of respondents thought the law should be changed to accommodate non-binary people, although the government didn’t propose adding non-binary as a legal gender partly due to “complex practical consequences for other areas of the law, service provision and public life if provision were to be made for non-binary gender recognition”.

A previous petition in 2019 started by non-binary model and author Jamie Windust that called for non-binary people to be able to identify “outside of male and female on legal documentation” reached 20,000 signatures.

Belgium recently committed to legally recognising non-binary people. It will be the third European country to do so, following Germany and Iceland.

Malta, most Australian territories, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Uruguay all legally recognise non-binary genders. Countries including Denmark and New Zealand, several US states and Canadian territories all offer ‘X’ gender options on legal documents for non-binary citizens.

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