UK passport holders may be able to opt out of identifying themselves as male or female under proposals being investigated by the Home Office.
Discussions on the introduction of gender-free documents are still at an early stage, with officials in the UK and other countries examining the security implications of not requiring transgender people to state whether they are men or women.
Passport holders might be able to simply put an X in a box marked “sex”.
Australia last week announced moves to make it easier for “sex and gender diverse people” to get passports in the gender of their choice. Under the guidelines there, sex reassignment surgery will no longer be a prerequisite to issue a passport in a person’s preferred gender. Instead a statement from a medical practitioner supporting the preferred gender will be enough, a change that is likely to affect only a handful of people.
The Home Office’s Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said in a statement: “IPS is considering the gender options available to customers in the British passport. We are exploring with international partners and relevant stakeholders the security implications of gender not being displayed in the passport.
“This is at the early discussion stage and no decisions have been taken. Any changes to the UK passport would need to satisfy our rigorous security requirements.”
News of the UK discussions came days after the government said it would soon consult on same-sex civil marriages in an attempt to reduce legal discrimination.