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State Department issues first US passport with X gender marker

The Hill
The Hill
 2021-10-27
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The State Department announced on Wednesday that it has issued the first U.S. passport with an "X" gender marker, after the department announced in June that it was changing gender requirements to be more inclusive of the LGBT community.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that the department is looking forward to making the X gender marker available to all routine passport applicants once the required system and form updates are completed early next year.

“I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons,” Price said.

The issuance of the first U.S. passport with an X gender marker comes nearly four months after Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the department was moving toward creating a gender marker for nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming individuals applying for a passport or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

He also announced that the department would immediately update its practices to allow applicants to choose their gender as “M” or “F,” and nix the requirement for medical certification if an applicant’s gender identity is not the same as other citizenship or identity documents.

In June, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a law that added an “X” gender option to government IDs in New York.

The push for a gender-neutral marker on a passport also made its way to Capitol Hill.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a bill in February 2020 that called for directing the State Department to “require the inclusion of a gender neutral designation in a passport, passport card, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and for other purposes.”

The topic of gender markers on passports gained attention in September 2018 when a federal judge ruled that the State Department cannot deny the passport of a person who refuses to select either “male” or “female” as their gender on the application for the identification.

The case gained attention after Dana Zzyym, who is intersex and uses they/them pronouns, sued the State Department in 2015 when it rejected their request to use “X” as a gender marker on their passport application.

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