U.S. promises to add gender-neutral option on passports

by Matthew Lavietes | @mattlavietes | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 30 June 2021 17:57 GMT

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian holds her and her child's passport while waiting to cross into the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Ysidro, California January 31, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Greaves (UNITED STATES)

Image Caption and Rights Information

The United States will add a third gender marker - or "X" - option on U.S. passports

By Matthew Lavietes

NEW YORK, June 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United States said on Wednesday it would add a third gender option on U.S. passports for people who do not define as male or female, in a victory for non-binary and intersex Americans.

Wednesday's announcement adds the United States to a growing number of countries offering a third - or "X" - option on passports, including Canada, Germany, Australia and India.

The State Department also said that Americans would no longer need to provide medical certification if they wanted to change the gender on their passport.

It did not say when the new "X" gender marker would be available, only that it was in the process of "evaluating the best approach to achieve this goal".

"With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward," said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

LGBT+ advocates have long argued that strict male and female categories discriminate against non-binary and intersex people, who are born with atypical chromosomes or sex characteristics.

Several U.S. states and cities, including New York, already allow Americans to opt for a third gender on identification cards and some major airlines announced plans to follow suit.

(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes @mattlavietes; editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Related stories:

U.S. lawmakers propose third gender option on passports

2021 is worst year for gay and trans rights in 'war' on LGBT+ Americans

Why are U.S. states banning transgender women from sport?

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.