Here’s another big step for gender diversity: the United States just issued its first passport with “X” for gender, a landmark step for people outside the binary male or female categories. As per PhilStarLife.com, the State Department announced that the option will routinely be available by early 2022 both for passports and birth certificates of Americans abroad.
“I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people — including LGBTQI+ persons,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
As a refresher, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken had promised to address the issue in June. However, there were technological hurdles that needed to be addressed. Under Blinken, the State Department has also allowed US passport holders to select their gender on passports.
Before this monumental change was made, Americans had to have medical certification if they sought to mark gender on their passports differently than on their birth certificates or other documents.
The US isn’t the first country to issue a passport with ‘X’ as a gender option. Other countries such as Canada, Germany and Argentina as well as India, Nepal, and Pakistan, a legacy of South Asia’s historic concept of “hijra” intersex or transgender people, have been doing it for years.
President Joe Biden has expressed his commitment to make advocacy of LGBTQ rights a top priority of his administration. This is a major shift from the previous administration of Donald Trump, during which Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo barred US embassies from flying rainbow Pride flags.
Art Daniella Sison