Tory MP Maria Miller calls for gender-neutral driving licences and passports

Maria Miller, the former culture secretary, added that 'male' and 'female' boxes should be removed from job applications unless essential

Ashley Cowburn
Saturday 02 January 2016 15:56 GMT
Ms Miller, a former Tory Cabinet minister, said the Government's approach has 'lacked urgency and bite'
Ms Miller, a former Tory Cabinet minister, said the Government's approach has 'lacked urgency and bite' (Getty)

Passports and driving licences should not state if the holder is male or female to avoid causing issues for transgender people, a former Tory cabinet minister has said.

Maria Miller, the former culture secretary and chair of the new women and equalities committee, said the Government should "strip back" talking about gender unless it was necessary.

According to evidence submitted to her inquiry into transgender equality, one per cent of the population – 600,000 people – are believed to have gender dysphoria or are uncomfortable with being a man or woman.

In an interview with the Times Mrs Miller also said that ‘male’ and ‘female' tick-boxes on official job applications should be removed unless essential.

She said: "As a society and a government we should be looking at ways of trying to strip back talking about gender, and only do that when it’s absolutely necessary. We need to understand that gender stereotyping can be as damaging for men as it can be for women.

"For individuals who have decided to transition but haven’t necessarily got the right documentation, it can cause problems. Why do we need gender on our driving licence? Why do we have to have it on our passport if it doesn’t really add identification? It’s not relevant. Australia has decided to degender their passports."

Responding to Ms Miller’s comments, the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said his party had pushed for the change during the coalition. He said: "In the last Parliament we desperately tried to get the Tories to agree to introducing gender neutral passports. I welcome Maria's comments and I hope more MPs in all parties will come round to the idea.

"This is not as radical an idea as it might seem - other countries like Australia have already introduced it and it is accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

"It is frankly ridiculous that even on something this small the Tories have refused to act over the last few years."

The committee’s inquiry into transgender equality is expected to publish a report regarding transgender discrimination next week.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in