The Department of State has reached another milestone in our work to better serve all U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender identity. In June, I announced that U.S. passport applicants could self-select their gender and were no longer required to submit any medical documentation, even if their selected gender differed from their other citizenship or identity documents. 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 Department is setting a precedent as the first federal government agency to offer the X gender marker on an identity document. When we announced in June that we had begun this work, we referred to the addition of a third gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals. Since then, we have solicited public feedback through the notice and comment process we undertook to update our passport application forms. We have also continued to consult with partner countries who have already taken this important step to recognize gender diversity on their passports. Finally, we have worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics to conduct qualitative research on how to define an X gender marker, interviewing a demographically diverse group of individuals, including many members of the LGBTQI+ community. After thoughtful consideration of the research conducted and feedback from community members, we concluded that the definition of the X gender marker on State Department public forms will be “Unspecified or another gender identity.” This definition is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion.
We continue to work closely with our federal government partners to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity. We have updated our advice to LGBTQI+ travelers: travel.state.gov/lgbtqi. We reaffirm our commitment to promoting and protecting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all persons – including transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons around the world.
Information on how to apply for a passport with this new option can be found here: travel.state.gov/gender.