Biden Administration will allow Americans to choose non-binary as a gender option on passports

U.S. citizens can now choose to add nonbinary or any other recently invented gender to be displayed on their passports. 

Also, people will no longer need to provide medical certification if they wanted to change the gender on their passport.

In a recent statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said:

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the Department will be taking further steps toward ensuring the fair treatment of LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender or sex, by beginning the process of updating our procedures for the issuance of U.S. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA).”  

And while the most immediate change will be allowing citizens to self-identify as either “M” or “F,” the only options currently available on forms, the department is seeking to add a third gender marker for “non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons,” applying for passports or CRBAs.

“The process of adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons to these documents is technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates,” Blinken said.

According to its website, the State Department “cannot provide an exact timeline” for when the new changes will be implemented.

The president promised these changes during his campaign last year.

“Transgender and non-binary people without identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity are often exposed to harassment and violence and denied employment, housing, critical public benefits, and even the right to vote,” Biden’s website said.

Deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, supported the move, saying:

“Having accurate passports and consistent ID is critical to daily life,” he said in a statement. “It’s necessary for travel, banking, starting a new job and school. Inaccurate IDs open transgender people up to harassment and discrimination. Reforming US passports is a common-sense way to improve the lives of transgender people.”

According to Blinken, the State Department is now doing what other countries have already done.

“In line with the Administration’s commitment to re-engage with allies and partners, the Department is taking these steps after considerable consultation with like-minded governments who have undertaken similar changes,” he said.

The secretary added that he would let engagement with the LGBTQI+ community “inform our approach and positions moving forward.”

“With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward,” Blinken said.

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