Petition demands non-binary gender option on legal documents

Jamie Windust, who started the petition to demand a non-binary option on legal documents.

For most people, renewing a passport is a somewhat costly, annoying bureaucratic matter that needs doing once every decade or so.

But for those who identify outside the male/female binary, having to declare their gender by picking between just those two options adds a layer of complexity to the process.

Recently confronted with such predicament, non-binary model and activist Jamie Windust chose to go down the political path.

In February, Windust set up an official petition asking the government to add a non-binary option for gender identity on legal documents. Three weeks since it went live, the petition has already accrued more than 8,000 signatures.

If at least 10,000 sign the petition over the next six months, the government will have to issue an official response. If the 100,000 signature mark is reached by August 12, the petition will be debated in parliament.

A screenshot of the petition demanding the recognition of a non-binary option on legal documents.

More than 8,000 people have signed the petition in the past three weeks. 

Windust tells PinkNews they set up the petition in the hope that it will pressure the government to consider the issue of a non-binary option on legal documents.

“We’re just over 2,000 signatures away from getting a response, which is the first step,” they said. “I’ve got about about five or six months until mid-August, so that’s quite promising.”

Windust is not the first person to try the petition approach—but may very well be the first to succeed.

Last year, a petition demanding the UK legally recognise non-binary gender identities only accrued 6,886 signatures by the time it closed in July.

“I don’t want to be stuck with a passport for the next five-10 years that does not have the correct identification on it.”

— Jamie Windust

Also last year, non-gendered campaigner Christie Elan-Cane fought in the High Court for the recognition of a non-binary option on legal documents. Specifically, Elan-Cane argued that passports should have a third gender option, ‘X,’ and denounced the current situation as “inherently discriminatory.”

Elan-Cane lost the battle, as High Court judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker refused to rule the government policy as unlawful.

Having studied the case, Windust is optimistic that there are no legal barrier to the inclusion of a non-binary gender option, it’s simply a matter of political will.

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