For most cisgender people, checking the little 'M' or 'F' boxes that pop up on basically all official documents is just one more thing they have to do to fill out the form. But for transgender and gender non-conforming people, those boxes are another reminder that their gender isn't considered valid or real.
That might soon change for gender non-conforming people in the UK. A step has been taken toward adding a third gender option on official documents, such as passports.
Right now, the addition of an 'X' box is under review with the government, and is not yet an official change.
"Many trans people are afraid to travel abroad for fear of intrusive questioning or difficulties at passport control," the plan states. "This can be especially worrying for those travelling with children, particularly if they had, or adopted, children when they were legally a different gender."
While some transgender people might still opt to use the 'F' or 'M' markers, not having a third option completely erases the experiences of people who do not identify as either a man or a woman.
"Not having legal recognition means non-binary people must constantly live as someone they are not," the plan says.
While they are focused on passports for now, the group is advocating for this change to affect all government documents. They've chosen an 'X' because the International Civil Aviation Organisation currently allows passports to be issued with an 'X' for gender non-conforming people, according to the plan. As of now, though, the UK does not issue these passports.
We are also currently considering changing the colour of our passports. This would be a simple change that makes so many lives better.