Court rules people cannot define themselves as gender-neutral on passports

Chris Fleming via Flickr

A court has ruled that people cannot define themselves as gender-neutral on passports.

Christie Elan-Cane, who identifies as non-gendered, brought a challenge to the Court of Appeal arguing that passports should include an “X” category for individuals who identify as gender-neutral, non-binary, intersex or other.

They believe that the UK’s current passport application process, which requires individuals to identify themselves as either male or female, is “inherently discriminatory” and infringes the right to privacy.

But the appeal was dismissed by senior judges, who said the policy is not unlawful. It’s a decision Christie has described as “devastating”.

“Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right but non-gendered people are treated as though we have no rights,” said Christie.

“It is unacceptable that someone who defines as neither male nor female is forced to declare an inappropriate gender in order to obtain a passport.

“This decision is devastating to me. It is bad news for everyone who cannot obtain a passport without the requirement imposed by the UK government that they should collude in their own social invisibility.”

Christie confirmed on Twitter that they will “seek permission for the case to be heard at the Supreme Court”.

Passports with an “X” gender marker are available in several countries around the world including Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan and Uruguay.

Kirrin Medcalf, of LGBTQ equality charity Stonewall, told The Independent: “Everyone must have the option of having their gender correctly recorded on their official documents, such as passports, if they choose.

“But currently, for non-binary people, since the government does not formally recognise non-binary identities, there is no option to accurately reflect their gender on official documents.

“As well as being de-humanising, a lack of legal recognition can cause many practical and legal difficulties.”



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