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The UK could be the next country to finally provide gender-neutral passports

If gender activist Christie Elan-Cane's case reaches the UK's Court of Appeals, the world may see its next gender-neutral passport.

The UK could be the next country to finally provide gender-neutral passports

In October last year, the first-ever gender-neutral passport was issued to a Dutch citizen. Several other countries, such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan, already have the option. Now, it appears that the United Kingdom might be the next country to do so - if gender activist Christie Elan-Cane's case is allowed to reach the country's Court of Appeals and pass. Elan-Cane believes passports are "inherently discriminatory" for not providing a third, or different, option for those who don't fall under the "male" or "female" sex categories. Last year, they fought the same legal case but lost after the United Kingdom High Court refused their bid. However, things appear to be in their favor this time around, BBC reports.


Elen-Cane proposes that the government add an "X" option under the sex category to give those who are non-binary, gender-fluid, or agender representation. As someone who has fought for 25 years to gain legal and social recognition for their non-gendered identity, the gender activist claims that the nation's current passport process is simply "unacceptable". They affirmed, "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."


During the last court case, Elan-Cane and their lawyers argued that the policy administered at present by Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO), which is part of the United Kingdom's Home Office, breached universal human rights laws. However, the case was shot down as the High Court judge believed that a comprehensive and thorough review had not been conducted, suggesting that there was not enough evidence to prove that HMPO's policy was unlawful. Acting for the home secretary, James Eadie said that the current policy maintains an "administratively coherent system for the recognition of gender" and maintains national border security.


Nonetheless, gender activists remain unconvinced. Anne Collins, from the law firm Clifford Chance, asserted, "This case raises important questions regarding the right to respect for individuals' gender identity for those who do not identify exclusively as male or female, including members of the trans community, intersex people and those who identify as non-gendered. X passports are crucial to the protection of the human rights of this group of individuals." Elan-Cane's court hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday. If all things work in their favor, the United Kingdom may finally make a stride forward in LGBTQ+ rights and join its former colonies - who are, at present at least, way ahead of the curve when it comes to gender rights.


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