The State Department has issued its
first passport with an “X” gender marker.
The State Department said Wednesday
that the “X” gender marker denotes that someone is neither
exclusively male nor female.
According to the Williams Institute at
the UCLA School of Law and interACT, an intersex advocacy group,
there are 1.2 million nonbinary and 4 million intersex Americans.
The State Department said that it would
begin offering the “X” gender marker option to “routine
passport applicants” in 2022.
“Offering a third gender marker is a
significant step towards ensuring that our administrative systems
account for the diversity of gender identity, gender expression, and
sex characteristics,” said Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy
for the promotion of LGBT rights abroad. “Because people do not
always fit within a male or a female designation, it doesn't benefit
anyone to have inconsistencies between people and systems.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded the upcoming change.
“Official documents that reflect an
individual's true identity are essential to allowing them to lead
dignified lives,” JoDee Winterhof, HRC senior vice president of
policy and political affairs, said in a statement. “The Human
Rights Campaign commends the U.S Department of State for issuing the
first U.S. Passport with a non-binary gender marker, a historic move
that will mitigate the risk of discrimination, harassment and
violence faced by millions of nonbinary, intersex, and gender
non-conforming Americans who travel abroad.”
“The United States must encourage
other governments around the world to follow suit in adopting
inclusive policies that recognize and affirm non-binary, intersex,
and gender non-conforming people,” Winterhof added.
Only a handful of counties issue
gender-neutral passports; Canada, Australia, and Argentina are among