Papers please

The right-wing press wasted no time in starting 2024’s Tory-fuelled attacks on trans people: on New Year’s Day both the Mail and the Telegraph ran scaremongering articles supporting Kemi Badenoch’s desire to roll back trans people’s rights by several decades.

This time the target is our passports, which the Telegraph claims have a “loophole” that enables us to change our gender markers that is “self-ID by the back door”. Except it isn’t a loophole and it isn’t self-ID. We’ve been able to change our passports with a note from our GP since the late 1940s (anecdotally) and definitely since the 1960s: April Ashley changed her passport in this way in 1961. It’s standard procedure.

What Badenoch and her acolytes are doing here is presenting something utterly ordinary and uncontroversial as a sudden sinister threat; in the 70-odd years that trans people have been changing their passports this has never been abused by either a trans person or a cisgender man pretending to be trans. But as ever, the intention here isn’t to protect anybody. It’s to stir up hatred and chip away at our legal protections and rights.




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