The White House and State Department on Thursday marked Transgender Day of Visibility with an announcement that U.S. citizens will be able to select “X” as the gender marker on their passport application beginning April 11.
“Every American deserves the freedom to be themselves,” the White House said in a statement. “But far too many transgender Americans still face systemic barriers, discrimination, and acts of violence.”
The definition of the X gender marker will be “unspecified or another gender identity,” and it will become available for other documents next year, according to the State Department.
In June, the State Department announced the initiation of the X gender marker on passports and said it would more immediately allow Americans to self-select their own gender marker between “male” and “female,” meaning transgender travelers would no longer have to provide medical certification if their gender identity doesn’t line up with the marker on their birth certificate or other documents.
“This is an important step toward achieving meaningful progress for LGBTQ equality in America, and will empower and enable millions of citizens to travel domestically and internationally with greater confidence that the United States recognizes their gender identity,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said at the time.
Millions of nonbinary, transgender, intersex people affected
The Human Rights Campaign said in June that more than 1.2 million nonbinary adults in the U.S., plus the 2 million transgender people in the country and 5.5 million people born intersex, could be affected by the changes.
The U.S. issued its first passport with an X” gender designation in October to Dana Zzyym, an intersex Colorado resident who had previously been denied a passport for failing to check male or female on the application.
“I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the ‘X’ stamped boldly under ‘sex,’” Zzyym said at the time. “It took six years, but to have an accurate passport, one that doesn’t force me to identify as male or female but recognizes I am neither, is liberating.”
The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday also announced a number of advancements for transgender Americans while traveling, including more advanced screening technology, less invasive screening procedures and an update to the TSA Pre-Check program to include the X gender marker.