Gender “X” Available On US Passports

Gender “X” Available On US Passports

Americans applying for a US passport will be allowed to choose an X for gender on their passport applications beginning on April 11, the State Department announced.

The US government said they wanted the announcement to mark a “Transgender Day of Visibility.”

The move intends to make federal documents more inclusive for transgender, intersex, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people.

“We're setting a precedent as the first US federal government agency to offer the ‘X' gender marker on an identity document,” Douglass Benning, principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs at the State Department, told reporters.  

Applicants will be permitted to select gender “X” on their passport application form, even if it doesn't match the gender on their birth certificate or other documents.  

The United States is not the first to implement such a policy. About a dozen countries around the world offer a nonbinary or third gender option for passports. 

State Department officials consulted counterparts in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, among others, ahead of the announcement.  

While the gender “X” marker will be available for routine services next month, the State Department plans to roll out the option for other documents beginning in late 2023 including passport cards, and expedited consular reports of birth abroad.

What “X” Means on Passports

The definition of the X gender marker will become “unspecified or another gender identity.”

“The X means unspecified or another gender identity,” said Jessica Stern, US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons.  

Stern said that while the policy change recognizes the “true identity” of the passport holder, it will not create new definitions nor rights.  

Transgender Americans will no longer need to have medical certification for their gender identity if it doesn’t match the marker on their birth certificate. 

For its part, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will implement gender-neutral screening procedures at airport checkpoints, designed to limit the number of false alarms and invasive pat-downs, in the coming months.    

“Our goal is to touch less and rely on the technology,” said Jose Bonilla, executive director of traveller engagement at the TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.  

Additional information will be available at Selecting Gender Marker and Transgender/ Non Binary / Gender Nonconforming Passengers.


Next Generation Passport

As travel resumes, it's an excellent time to make sure your current US passport doesn’t need renewing or you can apply for your first US passport. 

The US State Department has previously announced they are rolling out a new look for US passports and dubbed it the Next Generation Passports.

The Next Generation Passport features enhanced images of US history, culture, and traditions on the visa pages and there is a new perforated passport number throughout. 

What are your thoughts on this issue? Talk to us in the comments section below.

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