US citizens will be able to select the gender-neutral option “X” on their passports, starting April 11.
The announcement was made by the State Department on the eve of the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, an international event celebrating the transgender community and raising awareness against transphobia.
Jessica Stern, the U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBT2Q rights, called the move “a momentous step.”
“The addition of a third gender marker propels the U.S. forward toward ensuring that our administrative systems account for the diversity of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics among U.S. citizens,” she said at a news conference Wednesday.
“The issuance of X gender markers on U.S. passports does not create new definitions nor rights. This policy change recognizes the true identity of the passport holder.”
Canada has been providing gender-neutral passports for citizens since August 2017.
From April 11th, every U.S. citizen will have the opportunity to self-identify as gender “X” on their passports — no additional documentation will be needed to justify the selection of gender “X.”
Stern said this policy change is important because humans “do not always fit within a male or female category around the world.”
The U.S. is also rolling out other measures to remove barriers for people outside the gender binary.
The U.S. Department of Education is expanding training for educators on how to support trans and nonbinary students. And the Social Security Administration will no longer require proof of identity or medical documentation when applicants update their gender information on their Social Security record.