Americans Can Apply For A Gender Neutral Passport

Matt Lillywhite

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In what will be regarded as a huge milestone for LGBT rights, the U.S. has issued a passport with an "X" gender, recognizing the rights of Americans who do not identify as either male or female.

According to The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, nonbinary and intersex Americans account for an estimated 1.2 million and 4 million Americans, respectively. In recent years, a growing number of intersex, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming persons have come out of the closet, but due to a patchwork of state legislation throughout the U.S., most of them have been unable to get I.D.s that correctly represent their identity.

"We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere," said Jessica Stern, The U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights.

After updating its policy on passports and citizenship certificates for children born abroad, the State Department announced it will allow all Americans to apply for a gender-neutral passport soon. It also mentioned it was collaborating with other government departments to "ensure a smooth travel experience for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity."

The State Department now permits passport applicants to self-identify as male or female, eliminating the need for medical verification if their gender does not match their other identifying documents (such as a birth certificate or drivers license).

More than a half-dozen nations have jumped on board by adopting gender-neutral passports, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It's worth mentioning a gender designation of "X" on a driver's license is permitted in 20 states and also the District of Columbia.

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