June 14, 2024

Gender: Kristi Elan-Kahn Fights for a Neutral “X” in the Passport

Kristi Ilan Kahn struggles to get an ‘X’ in the passport: ‘It’s inhumane to have to mark a male or a female’

Kristi Elan was fighting to get an “X” on her passport in Great Britain

© Dominic Lipinski/Picture Alliance

Male or female, these two options are still in the UK passport. Kristi Elan Kahn couldn’t fall into these categories and was fighting for an “X” in the pass. For nearly three decades.

Last year ended with Kristi defeating Ilan Kahn. The UK Supreme Court rejected Elan-Cane’s appeal in mid-December. “X” is not an option. Elan-Cane claims gender-neutral in the passport, but lost a similar case against the British government in March 2020. Other countries already offer this option. In Germany, civil status has been “diverse” since 2018. According to the Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion, “divers” or “X” can be entered in a passport in at least a dozen countries, including Denmark, Argentina, Canada, the United States, India and Pakistan .

Despite the recent defeat, the per-will not give up, according to the pronoun Christie Elan-Cane uses instead of he or she. Derived from the English “person”. strict I spoke to Elan-Cane about the decades-long struggle for recognition, which began as a lonely struggle.

Kristi Elan Kahn, What is the hope for this New Year?
Full legal recognition of persons who do not fall into the categories of male or female.

In December, the Supreme Court dismissed her complaint. What did that do to you?
To be honest, this verdict shocked me. I was angry. Shows lack of understanding of the issue. A number of countries show that it is possible to enter an “X” in the passport.

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They announced that they would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. How would you rate your chances there?
My team and I are confident. But we simply do not know. To date, these issues have been resolved at the national level. It will be the first such case in Strasbourg.

What does the “X” in the passport mean to you?
It’s a blatant misinterpretation when I have to refer to a male or female in the documents. The passport identifies me. It is inhumane to have to specify male or female.

Girls are born. When did you know you were in the wrong body?
as teenagers. But it took a long time for my transition. That was a long process for me.

In your early 30s, you had both your breasts and your uterus removed.
I was 31 in my first surgery, a mastectomy, and 33 in my second, a hysterectomy. Some will not understand this drastic step today. At the time, there seemed to be no alternative. Times were different.

Was there a point in this process where you thought you wanted to live as a man from now on?
no never. I knew I was in the wrong body. But I also knew I didn’t want to be a man.

How did those around you react to your move at that time?
Understanding. I didn’t want to do anything to anyone who didn’t do it anyway. This is still in effect today. I already noticed it in the salutation. I use every pronoun. Some ask me how I would like to speak, others indicate this in conversation. Anyone who reacts without understanding here will not really respect me.

You spoke publicly about your transformation in a BBC interview in the early 1990s. Looking back, how was this experience for you?
In the past, that was naive. A BBC producer wanted to speak to a person who lives androgynous. At the time, I spent a lot of time with a group of transgender people, and that’s how that connection happened. I thought after the interview that everyone knew about me and that it would be a good way out, especially for work. But it wasn’t. I lost my job I was working in marketing at the time. I did not want to contact customers. After that I wrote several applications, but nothing worked. In the end, all I can do is get active.

Your fight began nearly three decades ago – a different time. How did you feel lonely at that time?
At first very. There was no social media. At one point I only knew three people around the world who, like me, self-identified as asexual.

What have you drawn from strength over the years?
I have someone by my side who supports me a lot. In the meantime, I also received support from many others. I am driven by the injustice that still exists.

At first, the British government, and then the Supreme Court, spoke out against the “X” in the passport. How do you see the mood in the country: will the population be open to it?
Yes I think so. I experience a lot of openness and encouragement. Unfortunately, there is also a growing anti-trans movement in the UK and the UK government appears to be supporting it. I think if the government changes, my chances will also increase.

In what areas do you think something should be changed besides the passport?
In some. With insurance companies, for example, it should also be possible to mark something other than male or female. or in banks. When my bank switched to online banking, I couldn’t use it at first because I would have to select a male or female here as well. Finally, the bank offered a third option. My work has made a difference here. We also need gender-neutral toilets. There is still plenty to do for sure.