On the last day of Pride month, June 30, the State Department announced that US passport applicants will have the ability to self-select their gender marker as “F” or “M” without the need for medical certification. The option to select the gender marker “X” for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming people is currently in the works.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has called the change a “a common-sense way to improve the lives of transgender people.” Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, a transgender policy, advocacy, and messaging expert explained that “having accurate passports and consistent ID is critical to daily life. It’s necessary for travel, banking, starting a new job and school. Inaccurate IDs open transgender people up to harassment and discrimination.”
Until now, US citizens who wanted to select a different gender than the one they were given at birth needed to present certification from medical professionals that they were going or had gone through a full medical gender transition.
The option to select the gender marker “X” has been promised, but the State Department remarked, “The process of adding a 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.”