October 9, 2017 / 4:07 PM / a year ago

Campaigner takes UK to court to demand 'genderless' passports

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A campaigner is taking the British government to the high court as part of a 25-year long fight to have UK passports that recognize people who don’t identify as male or female.

Christie Elan-Cane is pushing for a third option on passports for genderless people, which is usually symbolized by an ‘x’ on travel documents and birth certificates.

Elan-Cane, who was born female but identifies as “non-gendered”, will on Wednesday find out if the case will proceed to a full hearing.

London-based law firm Clifford Chance, which has represented Elan-Cane since 2013, declined to comment ahead of the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.

“The UK Government is generally regarded as out of step, with policy change in this area being implemented in other countries,” Elan-Cane wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

It is the first legal challenge against the Home Office’s (interior ministry) passport policy, Elan-Cane said.

“My decision to pursue change through legal avenues was due to the political process having been tried and exhausted as the UK government evidently had no intention to seriously consider the issue,” Elan-Cane wrote in September.

A Home Office spokesperson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email “it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”

If the UK were to issue genderless passports, it would join Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Germany, Malta, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Ireland and Canada.

Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, gender equality, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories

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