The Identity and Passport Service will not go ahead with the introduction of non-gendered passports, PinkNews reports. This was a proposal whereby people for whom passports tagged as 'male' or 'female' are not appropriate for one reason or another, to have another gender tag option: F, M or X.
It seems that to dodge taking any action, they've knocked up an easily-debunked security problem claim: but who would conduct intimate searches on people whose passports were marked neither M nor F?
Straight out of the Humphrey Appleby textbook.
Now, maybe the IPS honestly don't have anyone suitable on their staff roster. Though if everyone working for IPS is binary-gender identified, cis and non-intersex, then either staffing numbers are even lower than we'd been led to believe, or there is something institutionally wrong in their HR department that they seriously need to look at.
But if checking points already have at least members of the two most popular gender groupings in attendance to conduct such searches, surely we could get moving with giving anyone with an X passport rather than an F or M one the choice of either of the available search agents. Or the possibility of being detained while taken to a place where the staff roster includes someone more suitable for the, ahem, job in hand.
So this one hits the buffers. Simon Hughes MP is annoyed, and I'm disappointed that - as with the same-sex marriage bill - we are still struggling to drag our nation's bureaucracy into the 20th century when its people are living a decent chunk of the way through the 21st.
But... people from countries which do have non-binary-gender passports will continue to come and go through our borders, reflecting that the "but who will do the searches" problem is already there and something they already need to have a solution to, regardless of what options might be available to UKanian passport holders. So actually, there is no security procedure difference, and this is just an opportunity for our nanny state to treat its citizens like dirt.
If this really is what the IPS are going to report, and they intend to then just drop the whole idea and walk away, there are four magic words from the era of the last coalition government to sum it up. Not. Fit. For. Purpose.