Gender-Neutral X Passports Will Be Available In the US from Next Week

Gender-Neutral X Passports Will Be Available In the US from Next Week

From next week, people will be able to choose “X” as their gender on their US passports, fulfilling a campaign pledge made by the Biden-Harris administration to promote the “dignity, respect, and self-determination” of non-binary, intersex, transgender, and gender non-conforming people. The US Department of State announced on Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, that the option will be available to everyone seeking a US passport starting April 11, 2022, and will be available for other official paperwork the following year.

“After careful consideration of the research was undertaken and community comments, we have decided that the X gender marker on State Department public forms shall be defined as ‘Unspecified or another gender identity.'” In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony John Blinken remarked, “This definition is respectful of individuals’ privacy while fostering inclusivity.” “Every transgender or non-binary individual should have the choice of changing their gender marker to ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ on official identifications, passports, and other papers,” said President Joe Biden during his campaign.

In a recent announcement, the White House stated, “This is a big step in delivering on the President’s commitment to increase access to appropriate identification documents for transgender and non-binary Americans.” The fight for this option began in 2015, when Dana Zzyym filed a lawsuit against the State Department for refusing to provide a passport to someone who admitted to being intersex. Zzyym was born with sex features that were unclear. 

Despite their parents’ decision to raise them as boys, Zzyym, a former Navy sailor, subsequently discovered that they were born intersex. The State Department was accused of breaching Zzyym’s constitutional rights by denying them a passport that appropriately reflected their gender, according to their lawsuit.

The United States issued its first passport with an “X” gender classification in October 2021. Due to privacy concerns, the State Department did not publicly reveal who received the passport, although Zzyym eventually confirmed they were the intended recipient. “When I opened the mail, pulled out my new passport, and saw the bold ‘X’ stamped under’sex,’ I almost burst into tears,” Zzyym said. “I’m also thrilled that other intersex and nonbinary Americans will soon be able to apply for passports that have the appropriate gender identifier.” It took six years, but having a valid passport, one that does not require me to identify as male or female but recognizes that I am neither, is liberating.”