Renewing your passport is something that should be easy. A name here, a date of birth there, a choice between M or F… simple, right?
That’s what you would think anyway. But for some people it’s not as easy. Hi, my name is Bam and I’m non-binary/transmasculine.
Growing up feeling disconnected with your body isn’t exactly ideal. It left me incredibly confused about who I was, how I saw myself and how I was being seen by others.
I knew about binary transgender people and their journeys. However, I also knew that I didn’t necessarily fit within male and female boundaries that had been set within the cisgender and transgender communities and society as a whole. If I’m truly honest, I didn’t really feel like I fit anywhere for a very long time.
‘The word “non-binary” changed my life’
As the years went by and my depression and anxieties got worse, I realized I couldn’t be seen as someone I was not. I decided it was time to take action. But to what end? When I didn’t feel like I fit with the boys or the girls, what could I do? So I started with a lot of research.
I hit up YouTube and listened to other trans humans until one day I came across the word ‘non-binary’. It changed my life forever.
It was like a light had been turned on in my head. Suddenly, a voice was saying what I’d been longing to hear since I was a little kid craving an Action Man while I was holding a Barbie. And it told me I was valid.
The struggle for the non-binary part of the community
Currently within the UK trans men and women are constantly striving for basic rights to live safely and happily. This is a challenge we have been facing for years and is just to have regular day to day things that others may take for granted.
I am talking about simple things. I am talking about health care without having to give a trans history/awareness lesson. Being able to use a public toilet without the fear of discrimination. Finally, being able to choose an M or an F on a passport without getting permission from someone we might not even have met.
While all of this is going on, the struggle for the non-binary part of the trans community is just as big. It is just not seen and spoken about.
Non-binary people see themselves as not fitting the norm of being male or female. This is why we don’t get a letter which states who we are to others. We are forced to choose, to put ourselves in a box carefully crafted to make the wider population feel more comfortable with our existence. An existence which does not erase who anyone else is but shows people’s amazing differences which we should be embracing.
Why reforming the GRA is crucial
The Gender Recognition Act won’t just affect the lives of binary trans individuals. It will change the lives of thousands of non-binary humans as well.
GRA governs how trans people can have their identity legally recognized. While it felt groundbreaking in 2004, it now needs to let trans people self-identify themselves with no medical diagnosis required. And it needs to include non-binary identities as well.
This isn’t just about being able to change our birth certificate. This is about being seen, about being truly seen for who we are. Femme, masc, makeup, body hair, smiles, tears but above all true human beauty. To be seen is what we all want, right?
As I tick the M on my passport form it reminds me of how much further we have to go before I can stop explaining myself to others. Before I can hold my head high knowing the society around me appreciates the person I am, just like I appreciate them.
By filling out the GRA form and showing support to the trans community you will be changing this simple human’s life forever. You will be pushing the community a step closer to general equality. This would mean that when I go on holiday, I wouldn’t have to feel ashamed for something as simple as my passport.