A number of trans people have been unable to register to vote in the upcoming UK general election.
According to the Metro, a young trans man was told that his National Insurance number is “protected” when he tried to register – and several others have found themselves in the same position.
The man, who chose to remain anonymous, said: “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.
“It feels like I’m not a person, it just feels like I’m less than everyone else.”
He added that a number of his friends have faced the same issue, and GSN have reported that a similar situation happened to a trans woman in Wiltshire, southern England.
A person’s National Insurance number is granted “protected” status if they are deemed at high-risk, which can include prominent public figures, victims of serious crimes, and trans people.
An Electoral Commission spokesperson said it was an issue to be handled by the individual’s local authority, who are supposed to be given guidance on how to handle such situations.
But the man who spoke to the Metro said his local council didn’t know how to solve the problem.
“We’ve contacted our local councils too, they just didn’t know what to do,” he continued. “I can’t register because I can’t prove my identity, even thought I have documents.
“Because I don’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) it’s not enough.”
Several requirements needs to be met before a GRC can be issued – applicants need to be over 18, have a professional ‘gender dysphoria’ diagnosis, and have lived in their gender for at least two years.
If a person has a “protected” National Insurance number, they can provide legal documents to prove their identity, but this can be a challenge for a trans person who doesn’t have a GRC.
You can register to vote here before the deadline at 11:59pm on 22 May.
If you are having difficulties registering to vote, you can find details of your local authority here.