In keeping with the Biden administration’s newly announced gender inclusivity strategy, the State Department has printed its first gender-neutral passport, marked with an “X” designation.
The State department confirmed the news Wednesday, although the identity of the person to whom the passport was issued was not revealed. The U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, told the Associated Press that the new option for the document reflects the “lived reality” that increasingly more people identify with a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth.
“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” Stern said.
In June, the State department said a third gender marker could be available for applicants to elect to choose on their passport as part of an effort to make the document more inclusive to nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people. A department official told AP that the proposal, which would require large technological changes to databases, would be under consideration and review for a significant amount of time, pending approval from the Office of Management and Budget.
While prior to the department’s action, applicants had to present medical papers to verify the biological sex which would be displayed on the passport, now applicants can select the gender of their preference.
“We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere,” Stern said.