U.S. citizens will now be able to select the gender-neutral “X” as a marker on their passport pages, beginning on April 11 according to the State Department
The announcement was made on the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration of transgender persons held on March 31.
Jessica Stern, the United States’ special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, called the addition of an X gender designation to U.S. passports a “momentous step.”
“The addition of a third gender marker propels the U.S. forward toward ensuring that our administrative systems account for the diversity of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics among U.S. citizens,” Stern said, adding that “The issuance of X gender markers on U.S. passports does not create new definitions nor rights. This policy change recognizes the true identity of the passport holder.”
The upgrade is necessary, according to Stern, because humans “do not always fit within a male or female category around the world.”
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and interACT, an intersex advocacy group, nonbinary and intersex Americans, who are neither entirely male nor female, account for 1.2 million and 4 million persons, respectively.
The new policy is similar to one issued by the State Department in June, which allowed applicants to self-identify as male or female and eliminated the need for medical verification if their genders do not match those on their other identifying cards.
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Nepal, and New Zealand can also choose a gender other than male or female when filling out their passports.
© Fourth Estate® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.