UK Passports to Get Gender Neutral Parent Options


The UK’s passport forms are to be updated so that same-sex couples who are parents can better communicate their parental status.

Current passport forms require parents to fill in “mother” and “father” descriptors when applying for passports for their children. The Identity and Passport Service has decided to introduce gender neutral terms alongside existing descriptors that simply read “Parent 1″ and “Parent 2.”

From Pink News:

A spokesman for the Identity and Passport Service told the Daily Mail: “IPS is planning to amend the application form and associated guidance to deal with same-sex parents applying for a passport on behalf of a child.

“Currently, the application form provides the relevant boxes of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ to be completed. The new form to be introduced by December 2011 will in addition provide for ‘parent 1′ and ‘parent 2′.

“It is essential that any parent provides the necessary information on their status as parents or guardians when applying for a passport on behalf of their child.

“This protects the interests of the child and ensures that IPS is able to issue passports securely and safely to the right person.

This change is something that LGBT rights groups in the UK have said is necessary given that current forms assume heterosexual relationships, an assumption that can lead to†inaccuracies in passport†information. However, the change is apparently being met with some resistance from so-called traditional family groups who claim the change weakens the status of mother and father roles.

From the BBC:

Sam Dick, head of policy at gay rights group Stonewall said: “These changes simply reflect the realities of modern life for families – making it clearer for same-sex parents applying for passports for their children and more straightforward for the officials who process them.”

Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: “To speak of ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two’ denigrates the place of both fathers and mothers.

“Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but have quite distinct roles to play in the care and nurture of their children.”

How this change supposedly “denigrates” opposite-gender parental roles is beyond me given that the new markers will be introduced alongside the previous mother/father categories. Also puzzling is why the BBC thought that the fringe group Family Education Trust was the go-to for a comment on these changes.

Regardless,†the†changes are slated to go into effect come December. America†implemented†a similar change earlier this year.

The Lib-Dem/Conservative Coallition Government recently announced†that it is also considering implementing changes to British passports to reform the strict male/female†identity†markers that are currently required. This change would serve to better accommodate†trans and intersex citizens who at the moment are forced to pick either a male or female designation. You can read more on that here.

Related Reading:

British Gov. Announces Gay Marriage Consultation

Groups Advise Trans Servicemembers Ahead of DADT Repeal

Kristin Chenoweth: Donít Persecute Chaz Bono

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to nerdcoregirl.


Lindy E.
Belinda E.4 years ago

By the way - is there a practical necessity behind the designations "Parent 1" and "Parent 2"? Or is it just a holdover from the habit of distinguishing between "Mother" and "Father"? I'm thinking, if you identify a person as a child's uncle, you don't normally make an issue of which uncle he is; he's an uncle, and that identifies his relationship to the child. Would not a simple "Parent" serve the same purpose?

Lindy E.
Belinda E.4 years ago

@Frances W.: your comments about what you apparently regard as fundamental morality are based on current practices among Christians. True, Adam and Eve started in the Garden of Eden as one man + 1 woman; but many of their descendents married many wives, or had wives plus concubines, and the Lord did not punish them for it - so it must have been okay with Him. Further, you believe in Christ, but a great many people in the world do not. Secular governments were instituted so that people of all faiths could live in harmony, each practicing their own beliefs and not imposing it on their neighbors. As long as you live in a Christian community, you feel just fine about Christianity being the guiding force behind the government; but if you lived in Iran, where Sahria law would strip you of so many rights you take for granted (including the right to practice your own religion), you would then lament religion's influence in the government.

By the way, are you aware that the God of the Old Testament and Allah are one and the same? The first five books of the Bible are also the beginning of the Koran, or Quran, because the two peoples are both descendants of Abraham. So it's not as if they're some kind of pagans, and yet some of their cultural practices are utterly abhorent to most Westerners.

Nicole Bergeron
Nicole Bergeron4 years ago

One small step for mankind, one just leap towards the future

Frances W.
Frances W.4 years ago

Well, the religious clergy do have a point.

The state of marriage is critically undermined and effectively eradicated when same-sex couples are allowed to enter into it. Marriage is the moral basis of child-bearing and rearing through the naturally ordained coupling of male and female - mother and father. Anything outside of this state is perversion and against Natural Law/religious morality. Same-sex peoples cannot create children.

Homosexuals resort to surrogacy and lesbians to artificial insemination which in this context, could well be seen as wholly perverted and depraved as well as debasing the very act of human procreation.

In the case of the Western world, Christian religious beliefs should trump the workings of the State since the State is merely an offshoot turned atheist.

We can't allow this state of affairs to continue indefinitely.

For those pushing the argument of 'hummman' rights which are merely man-made and can, therefore, be withdrawn as well as conferred, such perveyors haven't a leg to stand on when it comes to human morality and mental rationality.

When it comes to other theocracies like Islam, for example, we see much the same stance and yet the Marxist Liberal camp cowers away from direct confrontation with Muslims on such issues. The question is, why is that then????

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago


Suzy D.
Reverend Suzy D.4 years ago

We can`t get away from bureaucracy but at least it`s becoming more friendly and inclusive.

jill bukovnik
jill Campbell4 years ago

I'm hoping every country will follow this example. A simple solution that helps in a very large way.

This is one of those brilliant "small" ideas that can easily be used on all passports.

jill bukovnik
jill Campbell4 years ago

I'm hoping every country will follow this example. A simple solution that helps in a very large way.

This is one of those brilliant "small" ideas that can easily be used on all passports.

Marie W.
Marie W.5 years ago

Not worth worrying about. Another bunch of forms- will they change the world?

Penny C.
penny C.5 years ago