The State Department just announced that non-binary people will have an option for the gender marker on their U.S. passports and that transgender people will be able to correct the gender marker on their passports without “medical certification” that they are transitioning.
In a press statement issued today, which is the last day of Pride Month, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the State Department is taking two steps to make passports easier for transgender people, citing President Joe Biden’s “commitment to human rights” and efforts “to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”
“Most immediately, we will be updating our procedures to allow applicants to self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F’ and will no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents,” the statement says.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), before today transgender people had to prove that they had undergone “clinical treatment determined by your doctor to be appropriate in your case to facilitate gender transition” in order to obtain a passport with the correct gender marker.
Blinken said that the State Department is working towards creating “a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons.” He couldn’t say when it would be available because, he said, the process will be “technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates.”
“We also value our continued engagement with the LGBTQI+ community, which will inform our approach and positions moving forward,” the statement said. “With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward.”
The LGBTQ organization Lambda Legal celebrated the announcement. They have been representing Dana Zzyym for six years in their legal battle to get a passport that conforms with their non-binary identity.
“I’ve been at this fight for so long,” they said. “I am optimistic that, with the incredible support and work of Lambda Legal and the Intersex Campaign for Equality, I will soon receive an accurate passport. One that reflects who I truly am; and that will allow for me to present in person at the several international conferences to which I’ve been invited to present on issues confronting intersex people.”