U.K. Supreme Court to hear case on gender-neutral passports in July

Muri Assunção, New York Daily News
·2 min read

The U.K. Supreme Court has announced a date to hear a case that could force the country to issue passports with a gender-neutral option.

The case was brought by Christie Elan-Cane, who has been fighting to achieve legal and social recognition as a person of non-gendered identity for nearly 30 years.

Elan-Cane, who’s represented by international law firm Clifford Chance, launched judicial review proceedings in 2017 challenging the lawfulness of the United Kingdom’s passport policy, which doesn’t allow for a non-gender marker to appear on the documents.

According to Clifford Chance, non-gender specific passports — also referred to as “X passports” — are available in a number of countries around the world and “are permitted by the relevant international standards.”

In 2018, U.K. highest court found that the government’s policy was not against the law, a ruling that was upheld by the Court of Appeals early last year.

However, the courts found that under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, a person’s non-gendered identity should also be respected, making it the first time U.K. courts recognized a person’s right to identify outside the binary concepts of male and female.

“This case raises important questions regarding the right to respect for individuals’ identity, specifically for those who identify as neither or not exclusively male or female,” Jemima Roe, an associate at Clifford Chance, said in a statement released in November 2020.

“Access to X passports is crucial for the protection of the human rights of this demographic, who are otherwise forced to use a passport which misrepresents their identity,” Roe added.

On Friday, Elan-Cane, who uses per/perself pronouns, said in a statement that the U.K. Supreme Court has granted per permission to appeal the earlier ruling.

The hearing date was set for July 12 and 13.

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

“The UK Government refuses to acknowledge our existence as it continues to ignore our disenfranchisement while its systems and bureaucracy render us socially invisible,” per added. “The case for ‘X’ Passports will now be heard before the UK Supreme Court in July 2021 where I hope finally to get justice on this matter.”