Campaigner for gender-neutral passports wins court challenge

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A campaigner has been given the go-ahead to bring a High Court challenge against the government over 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 or female.

The campaigner has fought since 1995 for this right.

At a hearing in London, Mr Justice Gilbert granted Christie Elan-Cane permission to bring a judicial review.

A full hearing of the challenge to the government's policy will now be held in the spring.

At the moment UK passport holders have to indicate whether they are male or female.

Last month, 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.

'A basic human right'

Christie Elan-Cane said that despite the International Civil Aviation Organisation - the UN agency in charge of passports - recognising the "X" option, the UK government has "persistently refused" to go in the same direction.

"The UK government are saying non-gendered people are not human, or if they are, they are just not as important as everyone else.

"They have dug their heels in and are not budging, but I don't think that is acceptable and that is why I have persevered."

Granting the petition, Mr Justice Gilbert said "I am satisfied this case passes the test for the grant of permission, and is arguable."

After the ruling, Christie Elan-Cane said: "I am reasonably optimistic as it is a basic human right to have your identity, but I cannot speculate how the case will go."

The BBC contacted the Home Office for a statement, but a spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

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