CUSU LGBT 'I don't exist' campaign

CUSU LGBT+ have launched a new campaign, entitled I Don’t Exist, “calling for legal recognition of non-binary identities in the UK.” The campaign has the support of Labour MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner.

In a statement on their Facebook page, the CUSU LGBT+ campaign lamented that since “UK law currently only recognises male and female, in the eyes of the law non-binary people simply do not exist” and “that it is not acceptable to ignore their existence any longer.”

The campaign’s Facebook page has published photos of people’s silhouettes holding up signs saying “I don’t exist” in front of various well known spots around Cambridge, such as the Chimney at Jesus College, Clare Backs, Trinity College’s Great Gate and the Bridge of Sighs.

The photos are accompanied by testimonies such as: “Legal recognition is a structural support of social life, one of the basic preconditions for the wider acceptance of non-binary people in society,” and “it's deeply disheartening to constantly be faced with forms that say “female/male” or “Mr/Mrs/Ms”, never more so than when dealing with official things.”

The campaign draws upon the work of organisations such as Beyond the Binary and the Nonbinary Inclusion Project to demand legal recognition for a gender, which is neither male nor female on passports, and legal documents to ensure that non binary individuals are protected by law.

This is a provision that currently doesn’t exist and the government has stated that it has no plans to accommodate the possibility of a third gender.

In response to a similar petition, the government released a statement outlining that “under the law of the United Kingdom, individuals are considered by the state to be of the gender that is registered on their birth certificate, either male or female.”

The government statement also expressed concerns as to how the addition of a non-binary legal gender would affect the operation of the 2010 Equality Act, which “protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female.”

The government went on to say that while they “recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender”, “it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents.”

However, CUSU’s Welfare Officer Poppy Ellis Logan told Varsity that “statistically speaking the welfare of this group of students is lower than that of binary students and I fully support the campaign.”

The campaign not only has the backing of CUSU but has also been endorsed by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner in a statement, as well as a comment on the campaign’s Facebook page.

Zeichner pledged to “keep pressing the Government” on the issue of legal recognition while praising the work of the campaign: “Well done for all the great work you're doing - you have my full support.”

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