FOR THE FIRST time in decades, SEPTA TransPasses and TrailPasses will lack a controversial element: those "M" and "F" stickers identifying the gender of the person who bought them.

Much attention has been given to the transit agency's fare increase that begins Monday - which includes the first increase to the system's base fare (from $2 to $2.25) in 12 years.

SEPTA also is consolidating Regional Rail zones and eliminating those gender-identifying stickers in the agency's most recent preparation for its massive New Payment Technology overhaul. A SEPTA spokeswoman said yesterday that no weekly or monthly passes currently being sold have the stickers.

SEPTA said in a statement released yesterday that "gender stickers will be eliminated on all passes for transit and Regional Rail."

That may seem like a small tidbit in the grand scheme of an expensive, multiyear fare-technology improvement touted to eventually include a "contactless" payment method.

But elimination of those little yellow stickers was a hard-fought battle for a local group called Philly RAGE (Riders Against Gender Exclusion), which formed in 2009 and has the slogan: "Keep Transit Officials Out of Your Pants." The group said the gender stickers disenfranchised some people in the LGBT community.

In early 2012, SEPTA decided to eliminate the stickers, which had been instituted in the 1980s to stop couples from sharing passes, SEPTA officials have said.