Activist Takes Gender-Neutral Passports to the High Court

Photo: Karen Bryan/Flickr Creative Commons.
Currently, 10 countries in the world offer gender-neutral passports: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland, and Nepal, according to The Guardian. The UK could soon become the 11th if activist Christie Elan-Cane's efforts succeed.
Elan-Cane, who identifies as "non-gendered,"  is taking a case to the High Court to get the Home Office to provide "X" passports that don't require their owners to identify with a gender. This means that, per the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)'s recommendations, people would be able to enter "X" instead of "M" or "F" in the sex category of their passports. People who enter the UK from other countries with X passports are currently allowed in.
"Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right, but non-gendered people are often treated as though we have no rights," Elan-Cane told The Guardian. "The UK’s passport application process requires applicants to declare whether they are male or female. It is inappropriate and wrong that someone who defines as neither should be forced to make that declaration."
The Stonewall Trans Advisory Group has also been campaigning for a third gender option on UK passports. "Not having legal recognition means non-binary people must constantly live as someone they are not," reads a five-year plan the group drafted.
There have also been efforts to make passports more inclusive within the UK government. A 2016 House of Commons report concluded that the government should "provide trans equality policy with a clear set of overall guiding principles which are in keeping with current international best practice" and "look into the need to create a legal category for those people with a gender identity outside that which is binary and the full implications of this." Over 40 MPs have already added their signatures to a motion calling for gender-neutral passports.
A hearing will be held on Wednesday for the court to consider Elan-Cane's case.

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