Story at a glance
- U.S. passport applicants will no longer have to identify as just male or female.
- Americans are already able to self-select their gender on their passports, but are only given male or female options.
- The U.S. now joins a handful of other nations that also allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on their passports.
The U.S. will offer its first passport with an “X” gender designation, the State Department said Wednesday in a move representing federal support for Americans that identify as neither male nor female.
The department did not reveal to whom the new passport was issued, but said that it would be offered more broadly beginning early next year.
“We look forward to offering this option to all routine passport applicants once we complete the required system and form updates in early 2022,” department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons.”
A department official declined to say whether the passport was given to Dana Zzyym, an intersex Colorado resident who has been in a legal battle with the department since refusing to check either male or female on an application last year, the Associated Press reported.
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The State Department in June announced it was adding a third gender marker for people who identify as nonbinary, intersex, or gender-nonconforming. A department official told the AP on Wednesday that the passport application and system update with the “X” designation option was still awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget, which approves all government forms.
But the department already allows applicants to self-select their gender as either male or female, waiving a prior requirement that people provide medical certification that their gender did not match what is listed on other official identification documents.
“We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere,” U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights Jessica Stern told the AP following the State Department announcement, adding that government documents should reflect individuals’ “lived reality.”
Stern said her office plans to speak with other nations about the U.S. government’s decision, hoping it might inspire others to do the same.
Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Canada, among other countries, also allow citizens the option to identify as a gender other than male or female on their passports.
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