Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
'X' PASSPORTS CASE REACHES THE UK SUPREME COURT
CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE [Appellant] - v - SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT [Respondent] and HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH [Intervener]
HEARING DATE: 12-13 JULY 2021
Non-gendered equality campaigner Christie Elan-Cane appeals against decision handed down by Court of Appeal in March 2020 that HM Passport Office’s [HMPO’s] discriminatory policy on ‘X’ PASSPORTS is not unlawful. The Court of Appeal upheld an earlier landmark High Court ruling that ECHR Article 8 [Right to respect for private and family life] is engaged in this case.
The public will not be permitted to attend the hearing due to pandemic restrictions.
The two-day hearing will be livestreamed HERE.
The recording can be found HERE shortly after proceedings end.
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 the benefits of a passport including forgoing the freedom to travel;
- HMPO policy causes distress and humiliation to individuals whose social invisibility is further compounded;
- HMPO policy effectively forces a section already marginalized within gendered society to collude in their own oppression/invisibility through the coerced self-denial of their identity in return for a 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 Elan-Cane has campaigned for almost 30 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;
Christie approached Clifford Chance LLP and subsequently brought 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 by Narind Singh, Eraldo d'Atri, Anne Collins, Jemima Roe, Saskia Mondon-Ballantyne and Deon Fang of Clifford Chance LLP and Kate Gallafent QC, Tom Mountford and Gayatri Sarathy of Blackstone Chambers. All legal representation is provided on a pro-bono basis.
Clifford Chance Press Statement HERE
Christie Elan-Cane: "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 its systems and bureaucracy render us socially invisible. The case for ‘X’ Passports will now be heard before the UK Supreme Court where I hope finally to get justice.”
Eraldo d’Atri, Senior Associate at Clifford Chance: "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. 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. The significance of this case is further highlighted by the recent announcement in the US by the Secretary of State that a third non gender specific option on US passports would be available. Clifford Chance is proud to be working with Christie and Blackstone Chambers to argue this case before the Supreme Court."
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.”
Court of Appeal hearing 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
On 30/06/21 it was announced that US President Joe Biden would honour a pre-election pledge that ‘X’ Passports would be issued in the USA without a requirement for medical documentation
The UK recognises ‘X’ Passports issued in another country as a valid travel document at national border control points
NON-GENDERED – Fighting for Legal Recognition
The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered