UK Courts to hear case on gender-neutral passports

Gender-neutral activist Christie Elan-Cane is set to return to court next week to give her case on why the UK should have a gender X option on their passports. Elan-Cane prefers to go by the pronoun “per” rather than his/her/he/she. Per has been fighting for 24 years to get the UK government to change their official forms and offer a third gender.

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

Elan-Cane is being supported in court by Kate Gallafent QC and Tom Mountford of Blackstone Chambers, as well as a pro-bono group of solicitors from Clifford Chance LLP.

Narind Singh, of Cliffford Chance, said in a statement: “Access to justice is central to Clifford Chance’s responsible business strategy, and the firm is proud to have worked alongside Christie’s Non-Gendered campaign for many years as it strives to attain recognition for individuals who do not identify as either male or female.”

Elan-Cane has also called out the recent hypocrisy of the £480m change to British passports, which will go from burgundy to navy post-Brexit. When petitioning for the gender X option she was told the cost of £2m to implement the change was too expensive. 

“The Government perceives the blue passport as symbolic to the national identity. What about the personal identity – and the integrity – of the passport holder?” She said. “I’m very angry that this ongoing battle with governing authorities has dominated my life. I just want to achieve legitimate identity that most other people can take for granted.”

If the UK goes ahead with adding a third gender option to their passports they will be joining Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand and Pakistan.

Tim Gibson

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