An announcement was made by the the State Department stating that the US will issue gender neutral passports with a third ‘X’ gender on Transgender Day of Visibility.
The US State Department said on Thursday that from April 11, a third ‘X’ gender option would be available on passports. The passport modification is part of a slew of policies directed at transgender people that the Biden administration has implemented.
According to a press release from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, anybody applying for a ‘X’ passport will not be required to present any medical paperwork to indicate that they are neither male nor female. The ‘X’ stands for those with “unspecified or another gender identity,” according to the statement, a description that “is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion,” according to Blinken.
Last October, the US issued its first gender-neutral passport, three months after the State Department granted trans Americans the option of changing their gender on their passports without having to provide medical documentation to establish their transition. The Biden administration vowed at the time that by early 2022, “non-binary” people will have a third gender option, a decision that conservatives mocked online.
With the passports expected in the next two weeks, the online reaction has remained largely consistent. Conservatives ridiculed the Biden administration, while LGBT groups and left-wing activists applauded the action. “This is somehow a priority for our State Dept at the moment? No wonder our enemies don’t take us seriously, ” Republican Congressional candidate Cicely Davis tweeted, while another user lamented the fact that “Chinese third graders are learning multivariable calculus” while “our third graders are being taught that ‘men can have babies.’”
Argentina, Canada, and New Zealand all provide gender-neutral passports, and more than a dozen more countries issue intersex or non-binary people third-gender passports in specific cases.
The State Department made the announcement on ‘Transgender Day of Visibility,’ an event started by transgender activists in 2009 and now widely observed by Democrats in the United States. Along with the State Department’s passport announcement, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday that it would implement “more efficient, less invasive screening procedures” for trans travellers, as well as “promote the use and acceptance of the ‘X’ gender marker by airlines.”
The Biden administration also told about a plethora of policies geared at “transgender children,” including promises to support “gender-affirming care” for children, which can range from counselling to puberty blockers and surgery.