Gender-neutral passports challenge reaches UK High Court

Gender-neutral passports challenge reaches UK High Court
Christie Elan-Cane.

A campaigner is going to the High Court in England to challenge the Government over gender-neutral passports.

Christie Elan-Cane believes the UK's passport application process, which requires individuals to indicate whether they are male or female, is "inherently discriminatory".

Elan-Cane, who has campaigned for more than 25 years to achieve legal and social recognition for non-gendered identity, sees the issue of "X" (for unspecified) passports as a key focal point of the non-gendered campaign.

A two-day judicial review, which begins in London today, challenges the lawfulness of the policy administered by Her Majesty's Passport Office.

It will be argued in an action brought against the British Home Secretary that the policy is "inherently discriminatory and part of a wider systemic failure to address the needs of individuals whose identities are neither male nor female".

At a previous High Court hearing - when a judge ruled that the case was "arguable" and should proceed to a full airing - Kate Gallafent QC, for Elan-Cane, said: "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 the 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.

Elan-Cane said in a statement: "Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right, but non-gendered people are often treated as though we have no rights.

"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."

More in this Section

Airline boss calls for business class ban to cut carbon emissionsAirline boss calls for business class ban to cut carbon emissions

Former Catalan minister arrested under extradition warrantFormer Catalan minister arrested under extradition warrant

Trump impeachment inquiry: President overheard asking about Ukraine investigations, Diplomat saysTrump impeachment inquiry: President overheard asking about Ukraine investigations, Diplomat says

Johnson tells EU he will not appoint a new UK commissionerJohnson tells EU he will not appoint a new UK commissioner


Lifestyle

I’d always promised myself a day off school when Gay Bryne died.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I’ve been thinking about my students, wondering who their ‘Gay Byrne’ will be

In an industry where women battle ageism and sexism, Meryl Streep has managed to decide her own destiny – and roles, writes Suzanne HarringtonJeepers Streepers: Hollywood royalty, all hail queen Meryl

'Ask Audrey' has been the newspaper's hysterical agony aunt “for ages, like”.Ask Audrey: Guten tag. Vot the f**k is the story with your cycle lanes?

Daphne Wright’s major new exhibition at the Crawford addresses such subjects as ageing and consumerism, writes Colette SheridanFinding inspiration in domestic situations

More From The Irish Examiner