U.S. citizens will now have the option to select “X” when identifying their gender during the U.S. passport application process beginning April 11, according to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
The announcement, released on Thursday, coincides with International Transgender Day of Visibility and parallels the Biden administration’s efforts to make policies gender-inclusive.
“The Department of State has reached another milestone in our work to better serve all U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender identity,” Blinken said. “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.”
The State Department announced last June that it would “be taking further steps toward ensuring the fair treatment of LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender or sex, by beginning the process of updating our procedures for the issuance of U.S. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA).”
This change updated their procedures on gender selection and slashed the requirement of medical certification if applicants did not identify with the options of “M” or “F.”
In October, Dana Zzym of Fort Collins, Colorado, identified themselves as the first person to receive a U.S. passport with a gender designation of “X.”
Court documents stated that Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics and was raised as a male. They then underwent several surgeries, but still identified as a male during their service to the U.S. Navy. After their service, they studied at Colorado State University and came to identify as intersex.
Though the passport was eventually issued with a gender designation of “X,” Zzyym said that the State Department initially refused to issue them a passport that matched their gender identity. This decision blocked them from traveling to Mexico for a meeting of Organization Intersex International.
With this updated policy, the U.S. joins Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries in adjusting their passport processes to be more gender-inclusive. Twenty states and Washington D.C. have done the same with state documentation, including New Jersey, which changed its policy in April 2021.
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