The first passport recognising non-binary gender has been issued in the United States (US). The US government said it expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year.
1. ‘X’ gender
In a move to boost the LGBTQ’s rights, the US State Department announced, on October 27, it had issued its first passport with an ‘X’ gender designation.
The US State Department did not identify the passport recipient, but Dana Zzyym, an intersex activist from Fort Collins, Colorado, who had been in a legal battle since 2015, told the Associated Press that they received the new passport.
“Intersex, non-binary, and transgender people need identity documents that accurately reflect who we are, and having mismatched documents can create problems with safety and visibility”, said Mary Emily O’Hara of GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization.
2. Citizen’s rights and social inclusion
While Zzyym, 63, said it was thrilling to finally get the passport, the ultimate goal was to help the next generation of intersex people win recognition as full citizens with rights, rather than travel the globe.
The US special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, called the moves historic and celebratory. “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 announced that it was moving toward adding a third gender marker for nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people, but said it would take time because it required extensive updates to its computer systems. The department now also allows applicants to self-select their gender as male or female, no longer requiring them to provide medical certification if their gender did not match that listed on their other identification documents.
The US now joins a handful of countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Nepal and New Zealand, in allowing its citizens to designate a gender other than male or female on their passports.