The British Home Office has begun a consultation on changing the format and rules of British passports. Following pressure from the Liberal Democrats, who declare themselves to be ‘firece champions of equality,’ new British passports will not contain details of the holders sex. The passports will still contain a field names ‘Sex’ but will contain an X for everyone.
Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone says, “We need concerted government action to tear down barriers and help to build a fairer society for transgender people.”
Supporters say this will save embarrasment or confusion for those who identify as transgender, or who are intersex – currently, potential problems can arise when a person passes through customs who does not appear to match the sex stated on their passport. This can result in long periods of questioning and detainment by officials at passport control.
The new-style passport would follow the example set by new Australian passports which now allow applicants to register their gender as male, female or indeterminate.
Detractors from the proposed changes say it will be problematic for the UK Border Agency to have one less field of information to identify people by.