British Government to Reconsider Gender-Neutral Passport Option?

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday July 13, 2020

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British lawmakers are about to reintroduce legislation that would provide a third, neutral option for British passports in addition to the binary choices of Male and female, reports UK newspaper The Guardian.

The legal quest to secure an "X" option for British passport holders has been the mission of activist Christie Elan-Cane, who took the issue to the courts earlier this year. Elan-Cane's challenge resulted in a ruling that said the UK government was within its rights to deny a third gender option on passports, but also contained a warning that the current British policy may end up as a violation of rights in the future.

Lawmaker Christine Jardine will reintroduce legislation to clear the way for a gender-neutral "X" option, The Guardian reported. Said Jardine:

"There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who do not identify as exclusively male or female, but the Conservative government still refuses to give them the dignity of recognizing their identities."

A gender-neutral "X" option on passports would hardly be unprecedented, The Guardian reported that:

Ten countries offer citizens gender-neutral travel documents. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland and Nepal have a third category besides male and female.

Added The Guardian: "A number of U.S. states, including California, New Jersey and Oregon, issue gender-neutral driving licenses and birth certificates."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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