Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
'X' PASSPORTS: JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED TO CAMPAIGNER AS APPEAL COURT RULES IN UK GOVERNMENT'S FAVOUR
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE [Appellant] - v - THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT [Respondent]
and HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH [Intervener]
Court of Appeal Hearing Date: TUESDAY 3RD - WEDNESDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2019
Location: Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London
Presiding: Lady Justice King, Lord Justice Irwin and Lord Justice Henderson.
In this landmark case the Appeal Court further endorsed an earlier judgment handed down by the High Court on 22/06/18 that Christie Elan-Cane’s non-gendered identity merited engagement of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR] “I am satisfied that the claimant’s Article 8 rights are engaged in this case so that the claimant’s right to respect for private life will include a right to respect for the claimant’s identification as non-gendered.”
The Appeal Court however upheld the High Court ruling that HM Passport Office’s refusal to issue non gender-specific ‘X’ PASSPORTS was not unlawful.
The Court accepted the UK government’s assertion that gender neutral passports could not be issued in isolation without wider legislative provision for the recognition of people who do not identify as either male or female despite that passports are issued under royal prerogative and therefore are not subject to primary legislation. The issuance of ‘X’ PASSPORTS would require nothing more than an uncontroversial policy change that the UK government fiercely opposes.
HM Passport Office [HMPO] passport policy and its effects:
- Applicants for a UK passport must indicate whether they are male or female in a signed declaration;
- A mandatory requirement that UK passport applicants must indicate a gender affords no provision for individuals whose identities are neither male nor female;
- HMPO refuses to issue passports that display a permissible non gender-specific ‘X’ character rather than ‘M’ or ‘F’ [‘X’ Passports];
- Passport applicants whose identities are neither male nor female are subject to a discriminatory policy which forces them to declare an inappropriate gender otherwise they cannot obtain a passport;
- HMPO policy forces individuals whose identities are neither male nor female to deny a profound aspect of their identity whilst making a declaration known by the individual to be false;
- HMPO passport policy ensures that individuals in this category face an unacceptable choice between carrying a document for the purposes of travel and identification that is a gross misrepresentation [rather than an affirmation] of their identity or forgoing a passport;
- HMPO policy causes distress and humiliation to individuals whose social invisibility is further compounded;
- HMPO policy is effectively forcing a section already marginalized within gendered society to collude in their own oppression/invisibility through a forced and unwilling self-denial of their identity in return for issuance of a UK passport;
- Passport data is used by some third party institutions [eg. financial service providers] to confirm a person’s identity with the effect that documentation issued and personal records held by third parties on non-gendered individuals is consequentially inaccurate and misrepresentative.
Christie Elan-Cane has campaigned for more than 25 years to achieve legal and social recognition as a person of non-gendered identity;
Christie has engaged with politicians of all mainstream parties and worked with various government departments to raise awareness of the issues surrounding non-gendered identity over a number of years;
Christie approached Clifford Chance LLP and subsequently instigated legal proceedings against the UK Home Office in order that its passport policy should be subject to judicial review after the political process had been exhausted and had failed;
Christie is not seeking special treatment however does seek to be treated fairly;
Christie would not accept an ‘X’ Passport without a policy change on their issuance;
Christie’s pronoun [third person singular] is per/per/perself.
Christie is represented, on a pro-bono basis, by Narind Singh, Eraldo D'Atri, Anne Collins and Jemima Roe of Clifford Chance LLP and Kate Gallafent QC, Tom Mountford and Gayatri Sarathy of Blackstone Chambers.
‘’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.”
“This decision is devastating to me. It is bad news for everyone who cannot obtain a passport without the requirement imposed by the UK government that they should collude in their own social invisibility.”
“I have nothing further to add at this moment other than that my legal team will seek permission to appeal this decision on my behalf in order that the case can be heard before the Supreme Court. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Court of Appeal Judgment handed down 10/03/20 full text HERE
Video recordings of two day appeal hearing 03-04/12/19 HERE
High Court Judgment handed down 22/06/18 full text HERE
‘X’ Passports comply with UN International Civil Aviation Organisation [ICAO] accepted standards for Machine Readable Travel Documents
‘M’, ‘F’ and ‘X’ are permitted characters for ‘Sex’, a mandatory identification category for Machine Readable Travel Documents as specified in ICAO Document 9303
‘X’ indicates the passport holder’s sex as ‘’Unspecified’’
‘X’ Passports [or passports that display an alternative non gender-specific character] are issued in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan and Uruguay.
The UK recognises ‘X’ Passports where issued in another country as a valid travel document at its border control points