‘X’ PASSPORTS: Application to European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]
15 December 2021: The UK Supreme Court rejected appellant Christie Elan-Cane’s appeal where the appellant sought to change the UK’s passport policy that requires applicants for a British passport to declare that they are either male or female and the passport carries an indicator where the carrier is identified as ‘M’ [male] or ‘F’ [female].
9 June 2022: An application was delivered on the appellant’s behalf to the European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR] in Strasbourg.
The ECtHR is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR].
Christie Elan-Cane is non-gendered. The requirement to indicate either ‘M’ or ‘F’ forces the appellant to deny the most fundamental aspect of per identity to obtain a British passport. The issue affects a wider section of society that does not define as either male or female [the affected class]. The appellant and affected class are issued with a passport that also serves as an identity document. The appellant and affected class must bear an identity document that grossly misrepresents who they are.
22 June 2018: A legal precedent was established in the UK when the High Court ruled that ECHR Article 8, the right to respect for private and family life, was engaged. This was a landmark achievement in being the first time a High Court had applied the principles of Article 8 in a case that involved non-gendered identity [as opposed to male or female gendered identities].
Christie Elan-Cane: “Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right but the position for non-gendered people in the UK is that we are treated as though we have no rights. For three decades I’ve fought for legitimate identity that most people can take for granted. X Passports are not controversial. Gender neutral X Passports are issued in a growing number of countries. This is in accordance with internationally accepted standards and regulated by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization. It is the UK Government’s choice not to adopt a humanitarian approach. It is the UK Government’s choice to impose gendered classification as a condition for obtaining a passport even where such classification is wholly inappropriate.”
Links to UK Supreme Court judgment handed down 15/12/21 and video recording of two day hearing starting on 12/07/21 can be found HERE
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
Christie Elan-Cane is represented by Narind Singh, Eraldo d’Atri, Anne Collins, Jemima Roe, Saskia Mondon-Ballantyne, Deon Fang, Ikki Shafiq, Euan Lynch and Izzy Lewis 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.
‘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, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan, Uruguay and the USA
The UK recognises ‘X’ Passports issued in another country as a valid travel document at national border control points
Christie Elan-Cane’s pronoun is ‘per’