In a move that officials say is an effort to make passport applications fairer, the U.S. State Department on Monday made its first-ever passport application with an X gender marker — and as with many things associated with trans identity, it comes with a puzzling tale.
The rightward shift in the Trump administration has largely been a boon for the trans community, for instance, in which the president even made a welcome cameo appearance in a parody rap video last summer. But the action taken in this case is a response to a change in guidance issued in November, which removed questions about gender identification in the application process. According to the memo, given to federal agencies by the Office of Management and Budget, the Trump administration wanted agencies to make government services equally available to trans and cisgender individuals.
The State Department on Monday immediately responded to the change by producing several new passport applications with the gender marker designated X — and the move was cheered by at least one trans individual. “Not only is it fair, but it shows the State Department really cares about its LGBTQI+ constituents,” The New York Times quoted Rachel Neely, a trans woman living in Arizona, as saying.
While the new applications, some of which will take up to three weeks to receive, are labeled, in the female column, for “persons who are currently recognized by the State Department as having a valid and accurate sex designation on any Social Security statement,” the policy in each case remains simple: Wait a few weeks and you may get a picture-perfect passport in time for St. Patrick’s Day. If you try to the apply for it weeks earlier and are turned down, just sit tight.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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