23rd March 2020

Gender X Passports

A UK court has ruled that people cannot have passports with their gender unspecified.

Currently, all UK passport holders have to specify whether they are male or female.

UK People who do not consider themselves as exclusively male or female include members of the trans, non-binary community and intersex people.

Globally, multiple countries legally recognise non-binary or third gender classifications and have already introduced X gender passports. In 2019 Canada introduced gender-neutral passports with an X category. Argentina, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Nepal already have a third category.

Some examples of different countries legislation below:

New Zealand: New Zealand followed the lead of Australia in 2012, and announced that non-binary and transgender people could change the gender marker on their passports via a simple declaration. (No need for a doctor’s certification or other gatekeepers.) Options for passports include male, female, and X (indeterminate/unspecified).

India: While India has acknowledged a third gender to some degree since 2005, the Indian Supreme Court officially recognised a third gender category for passports in April 2014. India now allows transgender, intersex, and hijra individuals to obtain documents that match their gender identity, whether male, female, or third gender. 

Malta: still remains the most notable among these countries, Malta has passed a historic Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Bill providing perhaps the most expansive protections for trans and intersex people in the world, Malta's policy not only allows Maltese citizens to update their gender identity on their official documents, like passports, without having to undergo medical treatment; it also includes an “X” (third gender or decline-to-state) marker option for passport applicants, something that many countries with trans-inclusive legislation still lack. 

World map showing legal recognition of nonbinary / third gender by country.    Nonbinary / third gender option available as voluntary opt-in    Opt-in for intersex people only    Standard for third gender    Standard for intersex    Nonbinary / third gender option not legally recognised / no data



Read here the 'Licence to be yourself' write by Open Society Foundations: