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Are trans people being prevented from voting at the general election?

2017-05-22
Trans voters are allegedly experiencing roadblocks when attempting to register to vote at the forthcoming general election. The general election takes place on June 8 2017, with voter registration closing at midnight tonight (May 22). Metro reports that they have been in contact with a trans man who faced difficulty registering because he was told he had a 'protected' National Insurance Number due to his recent name change. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the newspaper: "When I put in my details and my new name that I changed a year ago, and when it got to the NI number part of the process every time I entered it, it said 'this national insurance number has been protected.'" "So basically an error kept occurring where I needed to enter a different national insurance number, which I don’t have. When I think about it is funny – because I still get taxed." Despite contacting his local authority to try and sort out the issue, he said: "They just didn’t know what to do. I can’t register because I can’t 'prove my identity', even though I have documents. Because I don’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) it’s not enough." A GRC is a certificate that recognises someone's gender identity. In order to obtain a GRC, trans people have to fit a stringent set of criteria, including having a professional diagnosis and evidence of living as their gender identity for at least two years. The newspaper reports that other prospective trans voters have experienced similar problems. The man went on to say that the situation made him feel like he is 'less than' other voters. "It feels like I’m not a person, it just feels like I’m less than everyone else," he said. He revealed that he would be voting for Labour in the upcoming election, saying "I don’t think many trans people being denied the right to vote would actually vote for the government that implemented this." An Electoral Commission spokesperson told Metro: "It is possible to register to vote without a National Insurance Number and the Electoral Commission provides local authorities with comprehensive guidance that outlines the processes they should follow if an applicant does not supply them with one." More stories: Cannes Film Festival judges protest Chechnya’s abuse and torture of gay men Former Eastenders hunk Beppe di Marco sends Casualty viewers wild as shirtless police officer