UK

Gender-Neutral British Passports: Judge Grants Campaigner Right To Challenge Government At High Court

Canada, Australia and Germany already have them.

11/10/2017 15:04 BST
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A third, unspecified gender option could be added to British passports 

A campaigner has been given the go-ahead to bring a High Court challenge against the Government over gender-neutral passports.

Christie Elan-Cane, who has given evidence to Parliament about transgender equality, claims the UK’s passport application process is inappropriate, the Press Assocation reported

Under the current system, applicants must indicate whether they are male or female.

If the new proposals are accepted, option ‘X’ - which represents ‘unspecified’ gender - would be added alongside ‘M’ and ‘F’. 

The challenge comes after Canada became the latest country to offer citizens gender-neutral travel documents last month, following Australia, Denmark and Germany. 

Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Nepal also have a third gender option on passports. 

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Christie Elan-Cane has been given permission to bring a High Court challenge against the government over gender-neutral passports 

Elan-Cane, who first contacted the UK passport office directly in 1995, sees the issue of “X” passports as a key focal point of the non-gendered campaign. 

At a hearing in London on Wednesday, Justice Gilbart granted the campaigner, who was present in court, permission to bring a judicial review.

A full hearing of the challenge will now be held on a date to be fixed.

Lawyers for the Home Secretary opposed Elan-Cane’s application.

Granting permission, the judge emphasised that he was only ruling that the case was “arguable”.

In written submissions to the court, Kate Gallafent QC, for Elan-Cane, told the judge: “The claimant’s identity is that of a non-gendered person: someone who does not identify as either male or female.

“The claimant considers that obtaining and using a passport currently involves the claimant making a false declaration as to the nature of the claimant’s gender identity, which causes the claimant considerable distress.”

She said the impact of Her Majesty’s Passport Office’s “refusal to provide for X passports affects not only non-gendered persons such as the claimant but a broad section of the public”.

Those affected included intersex people, who are born with biological characteristics of both sexes and “who often identify as both or neither male or female”, transgendered people and individuals with gender dysphoria.

The QC said: “The size of the potentially affected class is substantial; it has been estimated to be as high as 1% of the population.”