The U.S. State Department will allow all Americans who do not identify as male or female the option to select the “X” gender marker on passports and the Department of Homeland Security is working with airlines to facilitate use of the designation for travel and security, officials announced Thursday.
The changes were among a slate of actions taken on Transgender Day of Visibility meant to affirm the identities of transgender and nonbinary people in the U.S. and tackle the challenges they face.
The passport policy will take effect April 11 and comes after the U.S. issued its first such passport last October, following a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal. In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that people will not need to submit medical documentation to update their passport. The Transportation Security Administration’s policies and procedures are also being updated to limit the use of gender-based pat down searches and other measures deemed particularly invasive for transgender people.
The White House also said federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education are unveiling new resources and procedures for transgender people, particularly children, as well as parents and healthcare providers.
The administration is also earmarking $10 million to research how to best add questions regarding gender identity and sexual orientation to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.