Maria Miller calls for passports, driving licences to be ‘degendered’

A Conservative MP has called for official documents to be “degendered”, saying it is unnecessary for some to contain gender information.

Maria Miller, who chairs the women and equalities committee, said including gender on documents like passports and driving licences can cause issues for trans people.

She said the government should “strip back” talking about gender, unless necessary, and said it can lead to unconscious bias in job applications.

In an interview with the Times, Mrs Miller said: “As a society and a government we should be looking at ways of trying to strip back talking about gender, and only do that when it’s absolutely necessary. We need to understand that gender stereotyping can be as damaging for men as it can be for women.

“For individuals who have decided to transition but haven’t necessarily got the right documentation, it can cause problems. Why do we need gender on our driving licence? Why do we have to have it on our passport if it doesn’t really add identification? It’s not relevant. Australia has decided to degender their passports.”

Mrs Miller made the comments amid an inquiry by her committee into transgender equality.

Of the unconscious bias against created by gendering documents, she said women now hold a “seismically different” role in society compared to before.

She said: “If we are going to help girls who are coming through our education system not to be hampered by gender stereotypes then we have to look at these things.

“There’s so much we can do to make the playing field level and in university applications as well. We’ve got to tackle the unconscious bias in the system.”

The women and equalities committee is expected to publish a report on anti-trans discrimination in the coming weeks.