Biden will allow Americans to choose non-binary as a gender option on passports and let applicants self-identify instead of providing medical certificates

  • State Department announced new rules for genders on passports Wednesday
  • Applicants who don’t identify as male or female can choose a third option
  • Adds to a growing a number of countries that have an ‘X’ gender option 
  •  Officials also removed the need for medical certification if they want to change gender on their passport 

The Biden administration said on Wednesday it would add a third gender option on U.S. passports for people who do not define as male or female, in a victory for non-binary and intersex Americans.

Wednesday’s announcement adds the United States to a growing number of countries offering a third – or ‘X’ – option on passports, including Canada, Germany, Australia and India.

The State Department also said that Americans would no longer need to provide medical certification if they wanted to change the gender on their passport.

It did not say when the new ‘X’ gender marker would be available, only that it was in the process of ‘evaluating the best approach to achieve this goal’.

The State Department said on Wednesday it would add a third gender option on U.S. passports for people who do not define as male or female, in a victory for non-binary and intersex Americans

‘With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

LGBT+ advocates have long argued that strict male and female categories discriminate against non-binary and intersex people, who are born with atypical chromosomes or sex characteristics.

Several U.S. states and cities, including New York, already allow Americans to opt for a third gender on identification cards and some major airlines announced plans to follow suit. 

‘The Department of State is committed to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people — including LGBTQI+ persons,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing the policy change on the final day of Pride Month.

‘Most immediately, we will be updating our procedures to allow applicants to self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F’ and will no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents,’ Mr. Blinken said. 

He added that the State Department has also ‘begun moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport or [Consular Reports of Birth Abroad].’ 

Biden speaks during an event for Pride month last Friday. Wednesday’s announcement adds the United States to a growing number of countries offering a third – or ‘X’ – option on passports, including Canada, Germany, Australia and India

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