UK Parliament to hear case for introducing a legal ‘third gender’

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Campaigners calling for a gender-neutral legal third gender will give evidence to Parliament, it has been announced.

Currently, only male and female are legally recognised in the UK – meaning people with gender expressions outside the gender binary – such as those who believe they have no gender, or a mixture of both – receive no legal recognition.

However, as Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee continues its inquiries into trans rights, it will hear from campaigners who are arguing for legal recognition for people who aren’t male or female.

The committee will sit for the third time on October 13, following evidence sessions surrounding issues including trans healthcare and trans children.

The upcoming session will include evidence from campaigner Christie Elan-Cane, who has fought to attain legitimate identity for non-gendered individuals and for non gender-specific X passports.

It will also hear from Ashley Reed, who launched a petition calling for an Irish-style system of gender recognition, where people are allowed to self-define their own gender without medical involvement.

Reed’s petition, which garnered over 31,994 signatures, also called for provisions to be made for non-binary gender identities.

UK Parliament to hear case for introducing a legal ‘third gender’
Christie Elan-Cane does not identify as male or female

Others speaking in the session include Doctor Who actress Bethany Black. Black starred in an episode of Russell T Davies series Banana earlier this year, before landing a role on the sci-fi drama.

The Republic of Ireland recently passed a new gender recognition law that allows trans people to legally change their gender through a statutory process, without medical involvement – while countries including Australia have begun to issue ‘Gender X’ passports for people who don’t identify as male or female.

The new committee was formed in May after years of pressure from a group of MPs.

Former equalities minister Maria Miller was elected to chair the Committee – and promptly confirmed the committee’s first actions will be a review of provisions for transgender people.


The select committee hearing is open to the public and available to watch online.

According to Parliament, the upcoming witnesses include:

Peter Dunne, Visiting Researcher, New York University Law School
Karen Harvey, Chair, a:gender
James Morton, Manager, Scottish Transgender Alliance
Ashley Reed, initiator of online petition on gender self-definition
Zac Snape
Sue Pascoe
Bethany Black
Christie Elan-Cane