UK Supreme Court Rejects Gender Neutral Passports
The UK Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal to allow residents to have gender-neutral passports.
Christie Elan-Cane, who identifies as non-gendered and uses the pronouns per/per/perself, took the battle to the UK’s highest court after campaigning for more than 25 years to achieve legal recognition for people who identify as non-gendered.
The case marked the first-ever trans civil rights case to be heard by the UK’s highest court and argued that the passport application process which requires individuals to indicate their gender is unlawful, and that British passport holders should be able to use ‘X’ gender markers.
The court issued its judgement today, December 15, with Lord Reed saying the court had ‘unanimously dismissed’ Elan-Cane’s appeal.
Per the Metro, Reed said:
The form is concerned with the applicants’ gender as a biographical detail which can be used to confirm their identity by checking it against the birth, adoption or gender recognition certificates provided and other official records.
It is therefore the gender recognised for legal purposes and recorded in those documents which is relevant.
Reed explained the Supreme Court agreed with the government’s position that making ‘X’ markers available on passports would have ‘adverse implications for the security aspects for the use of passports’ and ‘result in substantial administrative costs’.
There are a number of countries which do allow an ‘X’ gender option in the passports, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan and Uruguay, according to Pink News.
Gender-neutral passports also comply with UN International Civil Aviation Organisation accepted standards for Machine Readable Travel Documents, and they are recognised by the UK when issued by another country.
Reed, who is the President of the Supreme Court, said Elan-Cane’s interest in being issued with an ‘X’ passport was ‘outweighed by the public interest’, including ‘maintaining a coherent approach across government and the legal system’ in relation to gender categories.
He continued: ‘There is no legislation in the United Kingdom which recognises a non-gendered category of individuals. On the contrary, legislation across the statute book assumes that all individuals can be categorised as belonging to one of two sexes or genders, terms which have been used interchangeably.’
Elan-Cane has argued that the refusal to include an ‘X’ gender marker is contradictory to per right to respect for private life, which is guaranteed by article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case, which was brought to the High Court in July 2021, was first heard by the High Court in 2018.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers
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