No Non-Binary UK Passports yet, then

Christie Elan-Cane lost a High Court challenge calling on the government to provide gender-neutral passports. Christie Elan-Cane wants passports to have an “X” category, which could be used by those who consider themselves neither fully male nor female, and claimed the UK’s passport process was “inherently discriminatory”.

Currently, all UK passport holders have to specify whether they are male or female.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker refused to rule the government policy as unlawful.

Speaking after the ruling, Christie Elan-Cane, who has fought on the issue since 1995, said they were “bitterly disappointed” and that non-gendered people are “socially invisible” and being “denied civil rights”.

It is tempting to try to go to Court to change the law, but usually it does not work, because the Court is there to uphold, clarify, and enforce the law. It is the job of elected members of Parliament to change laws.



There isn’t very much news at the moment, probably due to holidays. However the site continues to be kept up to date. Today two information pages have been brought up to date: Age of Consent and Sexual Offences, and Domestic Violence.

Meanwhile wishing all readers a brilliant holiday weekend!

Have we peaked already?

British society may be reaching “peak acceptance” of homosexuality, according to research by Manchester University. Members of religious and ethnic communities continue to be less tolerant towards the gay community.

Their findings show that in 2010, 58 per cent of black and south Asian 16- to 44-year-olds believed same-sex relationships were always wrong – down from 67 per cent in 1990.

That compared with just 12 per cent among white respondents in the same age group (down from 46 per cent 20 years earlier).

“We show that religiosity and ethnicity became more associated with homonegativity (intolerance of homosexuality) between 1990 and 2010, with religiosity replacing education as the characteristic most strongly associated with it,” conclude the researchers.

Discrimination in South Africa over civil partnership registrations

Gay rights organisations and some political parties in South Africa have noticed that 421 of the country’s 1131 marriage officers have been exempted from performing civil unions for gay couples.

South African law allows marriage officers to refuse to officiate gay marriages.

Cope MP Deidre Carter said the issue came to their attention and they felt they needed to have it addressed. The party lodged a private members’ bill seeking to repeal section 6 of the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006. That section allows a marriage officer in the employ of the state to inform the Minister of Home Affairs that he or she objects on the grounds of conscience, religion and belief to solemnising a civil union between people of the same sex – and to be exempted from officiating.

The difficulties of being out at work during the HIV Panic


The New York Times asked six of its gay journalists to look back at the way they had covered HIV/Aids and how easy it had been for them to work at the NYT during those times.

What emerged was a picture of a newsroom that often forced its L.G.B.T. journalists to choose between their career ambitions and their desire to have an openly queer life. The Times spent much of the 1980s figuring out how to cover gays as real people with newsworthy problems. It was also deeply unsure of how to deal with its gay employees, whose sexuality may have seemed, to those in management, to be at odds with the pedigree the institution wanted to uphold.

You can’t do that

Facebook has removed a group in which landlords were offering young men free accommodation in return for sex. BuzzFeed found dozens of UK posts on Facebook, Craigslist and RoomBuddies offering men a place to live in return for sex.

Offering accommodation in exchange for sex is illegal under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Facebook and RoomBuddies said they removed such adverts when they were reported.

Homosexuality in ancient China



Uncredited and undated graphic | Hornet | 18303

Matt Baume writes in about ancient China and its tolerance of homosexuality.

For centuries, same-sex relationships in China were simply no big deal. One collection of literature dating from around 600 BC describes male attraction at court; other scholarship identified numerous same-sex partners for male emperors around 200 BC.

Emperor Ai, for example, tried to arrange for his male partner to inherit the throne. It is from Emperor Ai that we get the euphemism of the cut sleeve: a story says Ai’s partner fell asleep on Ai’s sleeve, and so the emperor cut it off so as not to wake him.

(see graphic.)

China’s history has many similar stories. A story around the year 150 about Huo Guang describes a same-sex romance. Ruan Ji and Ji Kang were described as lovers around the year 300.

From the 1300s to the 1600s a number of writings record gay couples in a matter-of-fact context which indicates such relationships were common.

Laws against homosexuality in China originated in the 1600s. There was government surveillance over relationships. By the Second World War, Chinas’ LGBT community faced harassment and persecution.