To mark Trans Day of Visibility, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken has confirmed that from April 11, people will be able to declare X as a gender identity on their passports.
The move was originally announced last June but no definite timeline had been confirmed.
An announcement on March 31 began by highlighting the importance of the move. “The Department of State has reached another milestone in our work to better serve all US citizens, regardless of their gender identity. In June, I announced that US passport applicants could self-select their gender and were no longer required to submit any medical documentation, even if their selected gender differed from their other citizenship or identity documents. Starting on April 11, U.S. citizens will be able to select an X as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application, and the option will become available for other forms of documentation next year.”
U.S. citizens will be able to select X as their gender marker on their U.S. passport book starting April 11. As we mark Transgender Day of Visibility, we mark this historic moment at the @StateDept as a meaningful step towards LGBTQI+ inclusivity. #TDOV
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 31, 2022
Since June, in order to develop the protocol, the department has “solicited public feedback through the notice and comment process” and consulted “with partner countries” who have already implemented steps to recognise gender diversity on their passports.
The statement goes on, “After thoughtful consideration of the research conducted and feedback from community members, we concluded that the definition of the X gender marker on State Department public forms will be ‘Unspecified or another gender identity.’ This definition is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion.”
According to figures from a Human Rights Campaign cited in Gay Times, the inclusion of the X gender marker could impact more than 1.2 million non-binary and gender non-conforming people and as many as 5.5 million intersex people who are eligible for a US passport.
To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you. @FLOTUS, @VP, @SecondGentleman, and my entire Administration see you for who you are — made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect, and support.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 31, 2022
The new gender designation is also backed up by moves announced by the Department of Homeland Security to improve security checks for Trans people. This will include implementing new body scanning technology to eliminate intrusive gender-based searches. They also confirmed that they will work closely with airport security and airlines to ensure that the X gender marker is recognised and respected.
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