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Passports Should Be Gender Neutral

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A court has heard that the Government’s rules on gender neutral passports are ‘unlawful’ and breach Human Rights. The first campaign for recognition of non- gendered identity started over 25 years ago in the UK. Christie Elan–Cane, who is a campaigner, wants the UK passports to have an ‘x’ category for those individuals who do not identify themselves as male nor female. This is because many individuals are currently forced to identify themselves as either male or female and must specify this in order to obtain a passport.

Many people do not consider themselves as male nor female such as: the Trans community and intersex people. Christie Elan-Cane said that “legitimate identity is a fundamental human right but non-gendered people are treated as though we have no rights. 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.” It is estimated that 1.7% of the entire world population are born with intersex traits within them, this is around the same number of people being born with red hair!

The case is centered upon the main issue of whether the current policy run by the UK Passport Office is lawful. Christie Elan-Cane, has stated that the current passport policy should be gender neutral as it breaches the the right to respect for private life and the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender or sex. Many counties do in fact have an ‘x’ category in their passports for individuals that are not of a specific gender such as: Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Malta, Germany, India, Pakistan and Nepal. Canada, earlier within this year also introduced gender neutral passports with an ‘x’ category. Perhaps it is time to adapt too.

By Amirah Asghar

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