National Identity Scheme & the Trans Community
Questions & Answers
Following the consultation on the secondary legislation the Identity and Passport Sevice has supplied (9 March, 2009) this Q & A on the effect of the National Identity Scheme on trans people.
GIRES response to the consultation is available here
Q: Will those who present in a gender that is not the same as that on their birth certificate be forced to obtain two identity cards if they do not hold a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)?
A: No. This is not the case.
The Identity and Passport Service intends that if you live in an acquired gender, you can apply for an identity card in your acquired gender. This will be dependent on the provision of a recognised report from a registered medical practitioner or chartered psychologist confirming that you have a need to live at least part of your time in an acquired gender  or, if you have a valid UK passport in your acquired gender already, the production of that passport.
In addition, if you so choose, you can apply to have two cards – one in your gender as assigned at birth and one in your acquired gender. According to your choice, one of these would be a card which is valid for travel in the EEA, whilst the other would be the non-travel variant. This option is being made available on the basis of discussions with trans communities that highlighted that (a) there are people who live in a dual role who need to prove their identity in their gender as assigned at birth and in their acquired gender and (b) some people who live in an acquired gender may still require a reliable proof of identity in their gender as assigned at birth for personal reasons. This option will be dependent on the provision of a recognised report from a registered medical practitioner or chartered psychologist confirming that you have a need to live for at least part of your time in an acquired gender.
Once an individual obtains a GRC, the option to hold a second card in the gender as assigned at birth would no longer be available.
Q: What if I have obtained a GRC and an identity card in my acquired gender but I now have a need to live in a dual role or in the gender opposite to my acquired gender? What should I do?
A: In very rare circumstances, we recognise that those who have obtained a GRC may subsequently need to hold 2 cards as they now need to live in a dual role or they may wish to live in a gender opposite to their acquired gender.
In those cases, it will be possible to apply for a second card or a replacement card in the gender opposite to your acquired gender. This will be dependent on the provision of a recognised report from a registered medical practitioner or chartered psychologist confirming that you now have a need to live in a dual role or in the gender opposite to your acquired gender.
Q: What if I don’t consider myself dual gendered but live in an acquired gender and don’t intend to get a GRC?
A: We acknowledge that the wording of the consultation paper on this point was unclear – this was unintentional and we are happy to clear this up.
As noted above, if you live in an acquired gender permanently but do not have a GRC, you will be entitled to get an identity card in your acquired gender. This will be dependent on the provision of a recognised report from a registered medical practitioner or chartered psychologist confirming that you have a need to live in an acquired gender or, if you have a valid UK passport in your acquired gender, the production of that passport.
Q: If I have two cards, will both my genders be revealed when I am proving my identity?
When you seek to prove your identity, it will be for you to choose which card to use, depending on the transaction. Each identity card will have its own unique identity card number. If confirmation is sought by an organisation in order to verify the authenticity of the card provided by you, the Identity and Passport Service would ask for the card number and only make reference to the record pertaining to that card (i.e. if you produce a card in a male gender, we would confirm the name in the male gender and not the name used on the card which reflects the female gender).
Q: Am I required to carry my identity card (or both of my identity cards) with me at all times?
Section 13(3) of the Identity Cards Act is clear that card holders would not be required to carry their identity card(s) with them at all times.
Q: Must I get an identity card when I apply for a passport?
A: As announced in both the consultation paper and the Delivery Plan for the National Identity Scheme in March 2008, from 2011/2012, when British citizens wish to renew their passport or apply for a travel document for the first time, they will be enrolled on the National Identity Register and have a choice of either a passport, an identity card or both.
As such, you will not be required to obtain an identity card when you apply for your passport – that will be your choice.
Q: What happens to any previous record of my birth gender if I inform the Identity and Passport Service that I have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate?
A: In circumstances where you have obtained a GRC before your apply for an first identity card and do not hold a passport in your acquired gender, you will be able to apply for a passport or identity card using your new birth certificate. Where you already hold a valid UK passport in your acquired gender, you will be able to apply using that passport. As a result, your record on the National Identity Register (i.e. the supporting database for the identity card) would be created reflecting that gender.
In the case where you have already registered with the Scheme and you subsequently obtain a GRC, there are protections in place in our systems and procedures to ensure that the record of your previous gender is then protected from being disclosed in line with the provisions of the Gender Recognition Act. Indeed, the Identity Cards Act makes unauthorised disclosure of information from the Register a criminal offence with a sentence of up to 2 years if convicted of a breach.
Additionally, the details of those who live permanently in a gender other than that assigned at birth will be held under the presumption that the individual holds a GRC (in respect of the protection afforded to any record of that individual’s previous gender history).
However, in line with the provision of the Gender Recognition Act, there may be occasions – for example, for prevention or detection of crime – where the disclosure of a person’s gender history may be necessary.
However, it is expected that such cases would be exceptional. As such, when you are using an identity card to prove your identity to an employer and a confirmation of your details is requested from the Register, your gender history would not be revealed.
Thus, while a record of the person’s birth gender is kept as part of our fraud prevention measures, a person’s gender history is very well protected within our systems and there is a criminal offence that reinforces our initial procedures against unauthorised disclosures.
Q: Will I need to provide previous names on the application form in relation to my gender as assigned at birth when I now live permanently in an acquired gender?
A: If you hold a GRC or a passport in your acquired gender, you will only be required to include previous names relating to your acquired gender and not names relating to your gender as assigned at birth.
If you do not hold a passport in your acquired gender or a GRC, some evidence in your previous name will be required as either a passport or birth certificate as well as a recognised report from a registered medical practitioner or chartered psychologist confirming that you have a need to live permanently in an acquired gender in order to obtain an identity card in your acquired gender However, any record of a name in your gender as assigned at birth will then be afforded the protections described in the question above.
We will produce specific guidance booklet that address the needs of the trans community when filling in the application form. It will be important that trans applicants refer to these notes when filling in their identity card application forms. We will make this booklet available online as well as making them available on request by telephone and distributing them amongst trans community groups.
1 The text of the consultation notes that it is dependent on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. After consultation with trans groups, we will use a more generic phrase in recognition that such needs may not only result from a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
2 After consultation with trans groups, we are happy to include this in the draft legislation, although it was not originally included.
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