The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal for ‘X’ gender markers to be made available to British passports holders.
As the culmination of a 30-year campaign, the case was brough by activist Christine Elan-Cane and became the first-ever trans civil rights case to be heard by the Supreme Court.
Leading the judges, Lord Reed said the court had “unanimously dismissed” Elan-Cane’s appeal saying that their right to respect for her private life was “outweighed by the public interest” in “maintaining a coherent approach across government…when it comes to which gender categories, beyond male and female, should be recognised”.
Non-gendered activist, Elan-Cane has campaigned for almost 30 years to achieve legal and social recognition. As countries including Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, India, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan and all provide an ‘X’ gender option in their passports.
Ahead of the ruling, Elan-Cane said in a statement: “Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right, but non-gendered people are treated as though we have no rights. The battle for ‘X’ passports has been long, hard and totally unnecessary.
“I hope that justice is finally served on 15 December however my legal team and I remain committed to taking this case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if we cannot get justice in the UK.”
Ben Howlett first met Christine in 2015 hearing evidence for the Trans Inquiry on the Women and Equalities Select Committee. Their campaign was compelling. Many in the LGBT+ community will have seen Christine’s case and wonder why the UK is so slow to enact such a change when Nepal and Pakistan have had such a system in place for years. Given the ruling, it now looks highly likely that Elan-Cane will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
One thing is for sure, Christine will not stop campaigning. For 30 years they have made the case and it is time for the government to bring the UK into line with other progressive and socially liberal countries around the world.