Americans will be able to select the gender-neutral “X” as a marker on their passports starting April 11 and will enjoy “enhanced non-gender screening technology” at airports starting later this year, the government said. on Wednesday.
The statement, timed to coincide with the “International Day of Trans Visibility”, aims to make travel more convenient for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming peoplethe Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the State Department consulted with partner countries “that have already taken this important step towards recognizing gender diversity in their passports” before proceeding with this process.
The State Department also worked with the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to conduct qualitative research” on defining the gender marker.
“Every American deserves the freedom to be himself,” the White House said in a statement. “But many transgender Americans still face systemic barriers, discrimination and acts of violence,” the press release reads.
According to the State Department, the genre marker X will mean “unspecified or otherwise defined by genre” and will be available for other documents in the coming year.
The measure comes after the government said in june that one a medical certificate is no longer required if the applicant’s gender preference does not match the gender in their other documents.
“This is an important step towards achieving significant progress for LGBTQ equality in America,” he said. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David at the time. “This will empower and enable millions of citizens to travel nationally and internationally with greater confidence that the United States recognizes their gender identity.”
According to the organization, the change will benefit more than 1.2 million non-binary adults, 2 million transgender individuals and 5.5 million people born intersex.
The Transportation Security Administration will also begin to replace “the current gender-based system” with “improved screening technology” to improve the customer experience of transgender travelers who previously had to undergo additional screening due to alerts “in sensitive areas”.