UK Court of Appeal rules against campaign to have no gender marked on passports

A court has ruled that people cannot have passports with their gender unspecified.

A challenge was brought to the Court of Appeal when campaigner Christie Elan-Cane argued that passports were to be marked as ‘X’ instead of a gender should be available.

At a hearing in December, judges were told that it was ‘inherently discriminatory’ for the UK’s passport application forms require individuals to indicate whether they are male or female.

Campaigners further argued that the governments current policy on gender-neutral passports were ‘unlawful’ and breached human rights.

Lady Justice Eleanor King read out a ruling at the Court of Appeal today saying: ‘There can be little more central to a citizen’s private life than gender.

‘In this case, however, the passport issue cannot reasonably be considered in isolation, given that the driver for change is the notion of respect for gender identity across the board.

‘The court finds that there was no positive obligation on the state to provide an ‘X’ marker in order to ensure the right of the Appellant to respect for private life.

‘Therefore, the current policy of HMPO does not amount to an unlawful breach of the Appellant’s Article 8 private life rights.

‘The court finds that the ‘X’ marker is just one part of a bigger picture that requires a coherent structured approach across all the areas where the issue of non-binary gender arises, particularly given the discussions as to whether there should be any gender boxes on passports (or indeed other official documents) at all.


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Written by

Samantha Day


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