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High Court refuses bid for gender-neutral passports

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Campaigner Christie Elan-Cane lost their High Court challenge
A campaigner has lost a High Court challenge calling on the government to provide gender-neutral passports.Christie Elan-Cane wants passports to have an "X" category, which could be used by those who consider themselves neither fully male nor female.The campaigner claimed the UK's passport process was "inherently discriminatory".High Court judge Mr Justice Jeremy Baker refused the application to rule the government policy as unlawful.Currently, all UK passport holders have to specify whether they are male or female.
Last year, Canada became the latest country to offer citizens gender-neutral travel documents.Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Nepal already have a third category. The International Civil Aviation Organisation - the UN agency in charge of air travel - recognises the "X" option.
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Christie Elan-Cane, who has fought on the issue since 1995, says it is a "basic human right to have your identity" and that the UK government "are saying non-gendered people are not human, or just not as important as everyone else".They previously told the Women and Equalities Committee that being non-gendered was "not a lifestyle choice" and "incredibly frustrating".In the High Court hearing in April, Christie Elan-Cane's lawyer, Kate Gallafent, claimed the policy breaches two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to respect for private life and the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender or sex.The Home Office made submissions to the court that the case should be dismissed.James Eadie, acting for the Home Secretary, said the policy maintains an "administratively coherent system for the recognition of gender" and ensures security at national borders.
MP Maria Miller, the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, has previously said a person's gender was "not relevant" on passports and driving licences.She said gender details on passports do not assist with identification. The ruling comes as the UK government is currently considering the responses to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004.It launched the consultation to consider plans to make the process of changing legal gender easier. Currently, people must be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition where a person's biological sex and identity do not match, to be granted a Gender Recognition Certificate.
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