Campaign launched to legally recognise non-binary people

Image credit: Tim Evanson

The CUSU LGBT+ Campaign has called this week for the legal recognition of non-binary people in the UK.

Students started this campaign, called ‘I Don’t Exist’, to highlight the discrimination that nonbinary people face in all walks of life. The campaign has been launched as part of various initiatives as part of LGBT+ History month.

Non-binary individuals do not describe themselves as ‘male’ or ‘female’, but rather their gender identity is not confined to those categories. There are estimated to be 250,000 people who identify as non-binary in the UK; however, this figure is very likely to increase as awareness and acceptance increases. Currently only seven countries in the world recognise genders other than male and female, including India and Australia, and the campaigners want the UK to join them.

In September 2015, the Government rejected a petition to recognise non-binary genders, saying, “The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female. We recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender. We are not aware that that results in any specific detriment, and it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-genderspecific official documents.”

The CUSU LGBT+ campaign argues that without legal recognition, non-binary people face constant discrimination in areas such as employment, education and health care. The campaign is using images showing non-binary people, cut out from iconic Cambridge scenes, to demonstrate the holes their lack of recognition leaves in our society.

Sarah Gibson, CUSU LGBT+’s president said: “We’ve made great strides in including non-binary students within our University, allowing them to correctly record their gender on University computer systems, increasing the number of gender neutral toilets available, and degendering our graduation dress code. Legal recognition is absolutely vital in getting organisations to listen to and tackle the issues facing non-binary people.”

Hayden Banks, Queens’ College’s newly elected LGBT+ Officer, supported the campaign, calling it “an excellent move from CUSU LGBT+ in acknowledging the need for legal recognition of non-binary people”. He went on to say: “Hopefully Cambridge can make headway in the struggle to get legal identification for people whose gender identity falls outside the rigid male/female categories.” A recent survey showed that of 79 non-binary people, 94% of them felt unsafe in the UK. 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest