Keep signing the petition to let them know how much people care about this (edit: oops, the petition is closed, sorry), but here’s Jane Fae for Gay Star News:
UCAS has responded promptly, saying they are intending to put it right.
A spokesman told Gay Star News: ‘UCAS wants everyone applying to university to be able to self-identify clearly, as they wish.
‘In addition to sex, our application form gives students the option of telling us whether the gender they identify with at the time of applying is different.
'For example, if an applicant would at that point describe themselves as transgender, then they can select “yes”.
‘We take the inclusivity of our definitions very seriously and have listened to the concerns raised. We are looking at how we can make the options broader and clearer, as quickly as possible, by engaging with representative groups.
‘The information is used by universities and colleges so they can better understand the composition of their student population and are able to identify and remove any barriers to an inclusive environment for all students.
‘All data disclosed is stored in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.’
Setting aside the fact that storing information about trans status in connection with someone’s identity is not in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (because it’s not necessary and it’s an invasion of privacy), this is a big and positive step. If UCAS start providing a nonbinary option for applicants, universities will know that there’s a significant number of nonbinary students and will start providing accommodation and restroom facilities that are gender inclusive, and that is amazing.
Another one for everyone to sign. :)
UCAS have changed their application forms from 2015* to ask for legal sex rather than gender. This is a step backwards which makes it difficult for people who are transgender to apply for university.
Binary-gendered trans men and trans women should not have to wait 2 years for a gender recognition certificate before they can apply to university in their correct gender. Meanwhile, those who have nonbinary gender identities are currently denied any opportunity of legal recognition of their gender in the UK.
We want them to make the application process inclusive of people who are transgender by asking for gender rather than ‘legal sex on your birth certificate’ and offering options for people with nonbinary gender identities.
UCAS have told us they want to engage with higher education providers and the higher education statistics agency (HESA) to look at making changes in future. We’d like to collect as many signatures as possible to show there is also support for this from their applicants and the wider community.
We’d also like to collect organisational signatures from trans* organisations, student and staff associations and similar groups. If you want to sign as an organisation please email us at email@example.com.
*the 2014 form asks about gender but still only offers 2 options.
Amazing that they’ve got Mx on there, that’s a really good step, but switching to legal sex when they asked for gender last academic year is a huge step backwards. Go sign, and add your views in the “optional notes” box if the issue affects you or your friends personally.
NZ’s genderqueer community could be set to come out of the statistical closet in the next census.
Congratulations to NZ, who will recognise nonbinary people on the next census!
Wow! It’s going to be really interesting to see the statistics when they become available.
Facebook and nonbinary gender
I have mixed feelings about Facebook and gender.
I love that people are no longer being shoved into the pronoun boxes of “she” or “he” - people who’ve got their language set to US and UK English can now be referred to as singular “they”, which would suit me just fine. They can also be agender or nonbinary or any of the other 50+ options. (It remains to be seen whether anyone will draw attention to “asexual” being on the list despite it being a word for a sexuality rather than a gender.)
However, you must still choose a binary gender when you sign up - which they have admitted they still use to target ads, even if you change your gender to something other than male or female later on. Imagine choosing male or female at random just to get an account and then having the marketing treat you like someone you’re not. Marketing based on gender is bad enough when you’re not gender-nonconforming, but this way is a massive dysphoria-inducing ick-fest.
And on a neutral observational note, their choice of singular “they” does reflect the majority of nonbinary people accurately - about 62% of nonbinary people are happy with singular “they”, though often not as the only pronoun they’ll accept - but there’s still a sizeable proportion of the population that don’t like he, she, or they. In other words, there is no consensus, and it’s not likely there’ll be one for a long time. Facebook choosing the oldest and most common inclusive pronoun is not a surprise, but I wonder whether it’ll be suitable for all nonbinary Facebook users, and I wonder whether it’ll affect the pronoun climate in the future. Will this bring us closer to what many nonbinary people want, which is a consensus on one inclusive pronoun, so that people can use our pronouns more easily and social dysphoria is thus reduced? Will binary cis people be all like, “Facebook says nonbinary people are called “they” so I’m going to call you “they” even though that’s not what you want me to call you”?
Petitions you can sign to support nonbinary genders
- Gender Neutral Gender Markers For ID
- Reform the Gender Identity Clinics (in support of the “informed consent” model)
- Rape law to be made gender neutral (advocates for “they” to be used instead of “he”)
- Help get gender-inclusive title Mx added to online forms (this is mine! I’d forgotten about it!)
- Legal protection for all trans* and intersex in the UK (seeking to include nonbinary and intersex people in anti-discrimination law)
- In support of ‘X’ passports in the United Kingdom
Any more for me to add? I’ll edit as and when. :)
We’re crowdsourcing a document to give to organisations to tell them how to be gender inclusive!
The Non-Binary Gender Inclusion Project
You should go and have a look at the Non-Binary Gender Inclusion Project. From their Facebook page:
Aiming for non-binary gender inclusion on the forms and literature of every organisation which interacts with the public in the UK.
Imagine having to lie about your gender to register for a bank account or not being able to get post from your utilities with an appropriate title. That’s the day-to-day reality for many of us who have a non-binary gender identity. We plan to change it.
We’re asking for companies and groups who interact with the public to make their literature and forms non-binary inclusive by taking these 3 easy steps:
1) If you ask for people’s gender, the options should include male, female & other
2) If you ask for a title you should allow users to both type in their own title and to select no title
3) Avoid using phrases like “men and women” if you intend to refer to everyone. For example, instead of saying “men and women welcome”, you could say “people of all genders welcome”.
Please join and help us campaign.
They also have a Twitter account: @nonbinaryUK