The following clause has been proposed for the Identity Cards Bill:

(1) This section applies to a person who—
(a) is a transgendered person,
(b) has not been issued with a gender recognition certificate, and
(c) is living in both the birth gender and the acquired gender.

(2) The Secretary of State must make arrangements for the issue to any person falling within subsection (1), on the application of that person, of two copies of a passport or some other form of identity document of comparable standing, one in the birth gender of the person and the other in the acquired gender.

(3) The form of the document referred to in subsection (2) shall be prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State by statutory instrument, which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(4) Any ID card issued to a person falling within subsection (1) shall (notwithstanding section 2(2)) remain valid until it expires, or until the requirement in subsection (2) is satisfied, whichever is the earlier, and section 2(3) shall not apply in relation to any cardholder who is a person falling within subsection (1)

I’d appreciate people’s views on this as I may have the chance to provide input to appropriate people. Unfortunately this clause, which is rather more reasonable than the last one, has been proposed prior to the report stage which I believe means amendments will be discussed in the full House of Commons (Next Wednesday, so time is of the essence) rather than in committee. This means that it will be subject to partisan politics, with the proviso that coalition politics may mean we have a greater chance of getting this approved than would otherwise be the case.

I’ll start with the (brief) negatives, so that I can end on the positive note the I feel is appropriate here. “Transgender” perhaps needs defining in clause 1a, although that’s more of a lawyer question I suspect so I won’t go into it.

Clause 1c is more problematic – this could mean providing proof that you’re living in both genders, but if you’re transitioning or transgendered and “living in both genders” then it’s quite possible the last thing you want to do is go to an employer and have to ask for a letter confirming you’re still turning up at work in your birth-assigned gender. It would probably be better if it was removed.

Clause 4 I can’t support at all, period. We’re back into the public perception of “only Trans people will have ID cards” territory, and as I’ve discussed before, that’s just a mess. Besides, it’s already been confirmed that only one person has dual ID cards and it’s basically just an attempt to delay the abolition of ID cards overall. It’s of no benefit to the trans community overall that I can see.

Back to the positives and I think it’s best if I describe how I think I could see this working in practice. Someone wants to transition, or is thinking of it, or is just transgendered and they write to the IPS and/or DVLA requesting a new passport and/or driving licence. (Perhaps with a letter from the doctor or a sworn affidavit or similar – it might be that the powers that be feel that something is required to stop frivolous requests but it shouldn’t be arduous) At the moment, you will have to give back your old documents and will not be able to use them any more. If this passes, I imagine you would be able to keep (And renew) you old documents as well as your new ones until such time as you apply for and receive a GRC at which point you have to hand back or destroy the old ID.

The only drawback I can think of is people might demand to see your old/”real” (Ugh) ID. For that reason, dual ID needs to be optional. Luckily, as phrased there is nothing in the bill to mean having two IDs is mandatory. I would encourage any government departments that implement this to ensure that there is a clear and obvious process for handing back your old ID and perhaps make answering the “Do you want to keep your old ID” question an explicit step in obtaining a second/new ID. I would even go so far as to having had your old ID revoked be a requirement for the GRC. (I.e. you have to confirm you’ve handed back your old ID before you can get a GRC, rather than the GRC triggering the revocation of it)

There’s a possible problem with the police being able to link together records from the DVLA so that area requires more study and it might mean this is limited to just passports. That would be an area for the civil service to worry about if the amendment and bill pass however.

Additional: I’ve just realised this is actually a significant improvement on the current ID card system. As it stands, only one ID card is travel-enabled. This would clearly not be the case if you had two passports – you could travel on both. (Although there are possible issues with Visas for some countries)

It’s nice to see an MP who one voted for doing some positive work on issues that affect you, even if that positive work is having to defend against the possibly well intentioned but certainly badly thought out actions of the new opposition. You’d think Meg Hillier, having proposed an amendment to the bill scrapping ID cards relating to transgender people, (Specifically, New Clause 3) might have done some basic research on the issue. Clearly she had not and neither had her colleague, Julie Hilling, before also speaking in support of the clause. They were, to my mind, rather unprepared for the somewhat better researched responses from Lynne Featherstone MP, Equalities Minister, and Dr.Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge. (My local MP)

The amendment was to keep ID cards for transgendered people for a period as, according to Ms. Millier, it’s the “only document that could be given to someone in an acquired identity without a gender recognition certificate”. As anyone that’s been through the process knows, this is nonsense. In regards to passports, the United Kingdom Passport Service will issue a new passport if you can produce medical proof that you are transitioning. This new passport will have the appropriate name, photo and gender marker. In my case, this took around three weeks mostly because I had not enclosed my original birth certificate but Dr. Huppert makes reference to another of his constituents who managed to get a passport in 5 days.

I was particularly pleased that Dr. Huppert went on to suggest that we simply remove gender markers from ID documents. This is, in my mind, a much more satisfactory solution to the problem for a much wider group of people, for example anyone neutrios that rejects any particular binary gender identity, than having to carry two ID cards. Indeed, as he points out, if it is only transgender people that have valid ID cards, the mere act of producing an ID card outs oneself.

Labour went on to try to push for a government consultation on the issue. This appears to be a rather poor attempt to save face on their part as the only issue is one they tried to construct in their own minds without conducting the most basic research.