Starting on April 11th, 2022, individuals in the United States will be able to choose a gender-neutral “X” option on their passports. This is a major step forward for inclusion and respect for non-binary individuals, who have often been forced to choose between male and female options that do not accurately reflect their gender identity. The addition of a third gender marker is an important step in increasing inclusion and privacy for all US citizens.
In a formal announcement from the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said that “This definition is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion.”
Documentation no Longer Required for Gender Markers
The U.S. Department of State then announced that it would allow passport applicants to self-select their gender without requiring medical documentation in instances where their gender did not match the one stated on other ID documents.
Forcing transgender people to disclose personal information that does not match the gender marker on their passports can subject them to discrimination, harassment, and even violence.
The US Follows Other Countries in Offering Gender-Neutral Passports
This is a major shift in policy from previous administrations, which required transgender individuals to submit proof of sex reassignment surgery in order to change the gender marker on their passports. The new policy will bring the United States in line with other countries that already offer gender-neutral passport options, including Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, and Nepal.
Non-binary and transgender citizens will now be able to have passports that more accurately reflect their gender identity, which is a major step forward for inclusion and civil rights in the United States.
The Human Rights Campaign came out in support of the decisions stating that the new policy change “will improve the lives of transgender and non-binary people in this country.” and hailed the decision as a major step forwards for equality in the United States.
US Government Plans to Expand “X” Gender Marker in the Near Future
The new policy is just a first step. The US state department has plans to expand the X option gender marker to other forms of federal documentation next year.
This shift is a major step forward for non-binary and transgender individuals in the United States, and will hopefully help create a more inclusive society for all.
For more information on how to apply for the new gender-neutral passports, visit travel.state.gov/gender.