The State Department on Thursday announced that it will make an “X” gender marker available on U.S. passports beginning April 11, and the option to select the marker for other forms of documentation will become available next year.
On State Department public forms, the “X” gender marker will be defined as “Unspecified or another gender identity.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the definition “is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion.”
The news of the “X” gender marker comes after the State Department announced last June that it would begin allowing U.S. passport applicants to self-select their gender as “M” or “F,” and that it would no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s choice did not match the gender on their other documentation.
The State Department also announced at the time that it had “begun moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons” applying for a U.S. passport or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
Blinken elaborated Thursday on that monthslong process. In addition to soliciting public feedback, he said the State Department consulted with partner countries “who have already taken this important step to recognize gender diversity on their passports.”
The State Department also worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics “to conduct qualitative research” on the definition for the “X” gender marker, Blinken said.
The State Department’s announcement of the “X” gender marker appears likely to be met with resistance from segments of the Republican Party, as GOP candidates up and down the ballot have seized on cultural issues such as abortion access, critical race theory and transgender rights ahead of the midterm elections.
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