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US State Department Issues First Passport with Gender ‘X’ Marker, Removing an Anti-Trans Barrier

Black and white photo of a US passport

The Biden-Harris administration is keeping its promise to reform the US passport system to ensure transgender people have accurate travel documents.

This week, for the first time the US State Department has issued a U.S. passport with an X gender marker this week. In June 2021, the State Department eliminated the medical requirement for a person to change the gender marker on their passport and other consular forms.

“Having accurate passports and consistent ID is critical to daily life,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s necessary for travel, banking, starting a new job and school. Inaccurate IDs open transgender people up to harassment and discrimination. We encourage the State Department to expedite the process of making an ‘X’ gender marker available to all passport applicants who want one. The ongoing work to reform US passports will improve the lives of transgender people and will help to ensure that travelers will have a better travel experience regardless of their gender identity.”

According to NCTE’s US Trans Survey, only 11% of respondents reported that all of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred, while more than two-thirds (68%) reported that none of their IDs had the name and gender they preferred. 

Nearly one-third (32%) of respondents who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.

“The Biden-Harris administration continues to show its commitment to ending discrimination and ensuring that transgender Americans can more fully participate in their communities and in public life,” Heng-Lehtinen said.

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