Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has pledged to consider introducing ‘Gender X’ passports – for people who aren’t male or female.

Tory Leader of the House of Lords Tina Stowell confirmed that the Conservatives will also examine the issue, and the Lib Dems and Greens both backed introducing the passports.

Ms Cooper made the promise at the PinkNews Debate with Evan Davis, which took place last night in central London.

Gender neutral campaigner Christie Elan-Cane – who doesn’t identity as male or female – called for the UK to follow countries including New Zealand, Australia and Nepal in introducing ‘third-gender’ passports for people who don’t define as men or women.

When challenged on the issue, Labour MP Yvette Cooer said: “We should look at this as part of the transgender review.

“There’s a whole series of issues around the way the law currently affects intersex and trans people… the Gender Recognition Act which is now about 10 years old and we are in an area where things have moved on a lot.

“This will be one of the issues that we will look at as part of the trans review that we would introduce, so I’m not saying we will just review it… This will be a specific review that we will do in government.

“I’m not going to pre-empt the conclusions of the review but just to say the specific issue would be looked at alongside a whole series of other things because I think there are wider legal issues that we would like to look at as part of that review.”

Tory peer Tina Stowell said she personally understood the wishes of Gender X campaigners.

The Leader of the House of Lords told the Gender X campaigner: “Clearly this is a very important topic.”

She added: “It’s certainly something I personally would want to explore and find out a bit more as to what the issues are that may be preventing us from making a decision.

“I’m aware that there are for example some risks involved in terms of some countries not really recognising [gender X] or requiring passports that are specific in their genders.

“I wouldn’t want us to do anything where we created a new problem or a new risk for people whilst we are actually trying to address their fundamental concern.”

Green leader Natalie Bennett and Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Don Foster also both backed the idea.

The Lib Dem MP – who is standing down in May – said: “The answer is yes. There’s already in parliament a Lib Dem early day motion advocating this and Simon Hughes is currently within the department working to try and achieve it.”

UKIP’s Peter Whittle said he “couldn’t give you an honest answer”, adding: “I really don’t know enough about it.”

The debate is generously supported by KPMG.

Baker and McKenzie


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