A non-binary third gender category other than male or female will be allowed on all US Passports after an announcement by the US Secretary of State today.
In a statement, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the department was moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.
“The Department of State is committed to promoting the freedom, dignity and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons,” Blinken said.
He did say, however, that the process of adding an “X” gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons to these documents “is technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates.”
While this process unfolds, the state department will start allowing applicants to self-select their gender as “M” or “F” and will no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents.
The progressive new policies will impact millions of individuals in the US, including an estimated 1.2 million non-binary adults, 2 million transgender people, and as many as 5.5 million people who were born intersex.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said Wednesday that the move “will decrease the risk of discrimination, harassment and violence for an already vulnerable group.”
“This is an important step toward achieving meaningful progress for LGBTQ equality in America, and will empower and enable millions of citizens to travel domestically and internationally with greater confidence that the United States recognizes their gender identity,” David said.
More than a third of US states already issue forms of identification with non-binary gender markers and the US has accepted foreign passports from nearly a dozen countries — including Argentina, Denmark, New Zealand, and Canada — with a third gender option for years.
GLAAD Rapid Response Manager Mary Emily O’Hara explained to USA TODAY that safety concerns for transgender, nonbinary and intersex individuals while travelling “are more pressing when we don’t have access to accurate and appropriate identification.”
“When you’re travelling with a gender marker on an ID that does not match your current gender presentation, that puts you a lot more at risk for harassment and discrimination than having an ‘X’ marker on the gender of your passport,” they noted.
Last Updated on Jul 2, 2021