Discrimination against transgender people is one of the last forms of discrimination in the UK, according to the chair of the women and equalities committee. So why is the government focussing on cheap, pointless gestures to end this discrimination?
Transgender people apparently no longer have anything to worry about, as the chair of the committee, Maria Miller, has suggested de-gendering passports. There’s no longer any need for gender to be put on official documents like passports and driver’s licences.
Admittedly, this could be more than a pointless gesture. Removing this element altogether could help both to end gender discrimination and to make life easier for transgender people. While it is in no way a full stop for the discrimination, it could be a step in the right direction.
Australian senator, Louise Pratt, described how travelling can be distressing and dangerous for transgender people. If removing the holder’s gender from passports helps to make travelling less stressful and, more importantly, less hazardous – as the minister believes it will – then the change is a welcome one.
Does More Need to be Done for Transgender?
If the government really wants to tackle this “last form of discrimination”, they need to do it through education.
Proper education about gender dysphoria and non-binary genders is the only way we can really bring the end to discrimination. Not only would this help transgender people to understand themselves and what they’re feeling, but it would also go some way to ending the ignorance towards this issue displayed by much of the current and previous generation.
So often, people just don’t understand transness. Ending the ignorance and righting the misconceptions about transgender issues will help to end the discrimination, and make society as a whole better.
With more and more children under ten identifying as experiencing gender dysphoria, it’s essential to explain to children what transness is. Transgender campaigners have been giving classes to up to twenty primary schools, which the schools have had to pay for. Whilst it’s a start, what we really need is a permanent inclusion on the national curriculum.
Teaching Granddad to Suck Eggs
But it isn’t just children that need educating. It’s the adults in their lives who need a better understanding of transness to help support them.
Professionals in social work and crisis response could also do with more training to help them understand the discrimination transgender people face. When someone needs support, the last thing they need is for the people who should be providing the support to not fully understand what’s brought them there or, even worse, for the support to have misconceptions about those issues that have brought them there.
Shockingly, doctors and health care professionals have also been pointed out by trans-rights activists as needing a better understanding of transgender issues.
The idea behind removing the holder’s gender from passports is a good one. If the move were to go through (and work), it would tackle one of the many problems transgender people face, but it isn’t good enough alone. It doesn’t solve the cause of the problem.
The biggest positive about the suggestion is that it has brought the subject of transgender issues into the public eye once again. A report into what else can be done to end transgender discrimination will be published this week which will hopefully outline a few suggestions that might do a little more to help transgender people than simply removing the need to include their gender on passports.