Person’s sex ‘not relevant’ for passports, ex-minister says

Fri, 8 Jan 2016

A person’s sex is not relevant for passports or driving licences, a former Conservative minister has said.

Maria Miller made the comments ahead of an upcoming report on transsexualism which will reportedly recommend a radical overhaul of the current system of ‘changing sex’.

Miller did, however, note that freedom of speech is important on the issue – saying while she may disagree with a person on the topic, they “should have a right to express it”.

Application form

At present a person must present as the opposite sex for two years before they can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

But under proposals to be made by Miller’s Women and Equalities Committee, someone would simply need to fill in an application form, The Sunday Times reported.

Miller said the Government needs to be “looking at ways of trying to strip back talking about gender”.

Discussion of the issue should only be done “when it’s absolutely necessary”, she said.

Passports

Talking about people who are in the process of changing to live as if they were the opposite sex, she said: “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 to identification? It’s not relevant.”

She also suggested that the issue went beyond transsexualism, saying job and university applications could be changed to challenge an “unconscious bias” resulting from “gender stereotypes”.

Free speech

Miller commented on statements from feminist author Germaine Greer who has said men who undergo a sex change operation are not women.

“Freedom of speech is important,” she said, adding: “If people have got views that you don’t agree with you shouldn’t just ban them.

“I might profoundly disagree with Germaine Greer’s point of view on it, but I think she should have a right to express it. That’s the country we live in.”

Maria Miller, who is a former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, currently chairs the Women and Equalities Committee. It is due to release its report next week.