Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
'X' PASSPORTS: HEARING DATE SET FOR UK SUPREME COURT
and HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH [Intervener]
HEARING DATE: 12-13 JULY 2021
In November 2020 non-gendered equality campaigner Christie Elan-Cane was granted permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against an earlier ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court will now decide on the lawfulness [or otherwise] of HM Passport Office’s [HMPO’s] discriminatory policy on ‘X’ PASSPORTS.
HMPO’s 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 with a permissible non gender-specific character ‘X’ displayed rather than ‘M’ or ‘F’ [‘X’ Passports];
- Passport applicants whose identities are neither male nor female are subject to a discriminatory policy that 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 determines that individuals in this category must face an unacceptable choice between accepting a document for purposes of travel/personal identification that is a gross misrepresentation [rather than an affirmation] of their identity otherwise forgoing a passport and the freedom to travel;
- 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 coerced and unwilling self-denial of their identity in return for the issuance of a UK passport;
- Passport data is often used by third party institutions [eg. financial service providers] to confirm a person’s identity with the effect that issued documentation and personal records held by third parties on non-gendered individuals is consequentially inaccurate and misrepresentative.
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;
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 was 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 an overall policy change on their issuance in the UK;
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.
Clifford Chance’s earlier press statement can be found HERE.
‘’Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right but non-gendered people are treated as though we have no rights. The UK Government refuses to acknowledge our existence as it continues to ignore our disenfranchisement while its systems and bureaucracy render us socially invisible. 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.”
Appeal Court Judgment handed down 10/03/20 full text HERE
Lady Justice King [Para 46]: “Moreover, in my judgment it is obvious and indeed beyond argument that the facts of this case concern the Appellant’s private life and engage Article 8. There can be little more central to a citizen’s private life than gender, whatever that gender may or may not be. No-one has suggested (nor could they) that the Appellant has no right to live as a non-binary, or more particularly as a non-gendered, person. Indeed, a gender identity chosen as it has been here, achieved or realised through successive episodes of major surgery and lived through decades of scepticism, indifference and sometimes hostility must be taken to be absolutely central to the person’s private life. It is the distinguishing feature of this Appellant’s private life.”
Appeal hearing [two days] 03/12/19-04/12/19 Video 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
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered