Now Reading
Law firm lobbies UK Government to introduce non-gendered ‘X’ passports

Law firm lobbies UK Government to introduce non-gendered ‘X’ passports

A UK passport

International law firm Clifford Chance has submitted a report to the UK’s HM Passport Office questioning the Government’s decision not to allow passports that do not specify the gender of the holder (‘X’ passports).

The report has been submitted on behalf of the Non-Gendered campaign launched by Christie Elan-Cane. The campaign seeks legal recognition for individuals who do not identify as either male or female.

Other countries, including Australia and New Zealand, already allow passport applicants to apply for an ‘X’ passports, whereby they can indicate their gender as ‘X’ rather than ‘F’ or ‘M’.

Narind Singh, partner leading the Clifford Chance team, said in a statement: ‘Access to Justice is an integral part of Clifford Chance’s Corporate Responsibility strategy and the firm is proud to be supporting Christie’s Non-Gendered campaign on its pioneering mission to attain legitimate identity for non-gendered individuals.

‘From working with Non-Gendered we have learnt that persons in this marginalized group are forced to conceal and deny their identities due to lack of societal provision. The impact of this is devastating and allowing X Passports would be a crucial step towards protecting their human rights.’

Clifford Chance were unwilling to publicly share the report at this stage, ‘in order to protect its privileged status,’ said a spokesperson.

‘On a principle of legitimate identity as a fundamental human right, British passport policy is failing to address the needs of those who do not define as male or female,’ Christie Elan-Cane told Gay Star Business.

‘The Clifford Chance Report challenges the UK government position and its earlier decision to reject proposals for non gender-specific ‘X’ Passports in the UK.

‘I approached Clifford Chance because attempts to negotiate with HM Passport Office had failed. The government were not listening and had closed the door on ‘X’ Passports. I hope that HM Passport Office will be convinced when reading the report that a change of policy is the right thing to do.’

The Non-Gendered campaign supported an Early Day Motion (EDM) raised by Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrat: Cambridge). EDM 47 called for the introduction of ‘X’ passport options, and noted that ‘X’ is already a permitted form of identification in the eyes of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

However, although EDM 47 gained signatures from 80 members of Parliament – from across the political spectrum – it failed to reach the debating stage before the end of the 2014-2015 Parliamentary session. The Parliamentary session ended yesterday, ahead of the forthcoming General Election on 7 May.

Elan-Cane said that even though it didn’t reaching the debating stage, EDM 47 – just one of a series of challenges to the Government on the issue – has played an important role in throwing a spotlight on the topic.

Clifford Chance employs 3,300 lawyers in 36 offices in 26 countries. It is well-known for its support of LGBT causes and scored 100% in the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent Corporate Equality Index.