The Government Is Making This Important Change To Passports

In a notable change to passports, the U.S. government is adding a third gender option, to represent non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals if they choose to use it (via People). On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the government is working on putting in place another gender option, in a bid to take "further steps toward ensuring the fair treatment of LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender or sex."

At present, Americans applying for a passport can choose from "M" and "F" options, but can now select their gender themselves, even if it doesn't correspond to what's listed on their birth certificate or state ID. Even more significantly, no medical documents need to be provided to change this. 

A number of other countries around the world have already introduced a third gender option on their passports, including Canada, Argentina, Denmark, and New Zealand. While a date has not been given for the introduction of a third gender option in the U.S., it could well be soon. 

A third gender option is being added

"The process of adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons to these documents is technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates," continued Antony Blinken in his statement (via People). "The Department will also be working closely with its interagency partners to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for the passport holder."

Later on in his statement, Blinken declared that: "In line with the Administration's commitment to re-engage with allies and partners, the Department is taking these steps after considerable consultation with like-minded governments who have undertaken similar changes ... With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward."

This is just the latest move in a series of policies put in place to benefit the LGBTQ+ community since Joe Biden – who met Queen Elizabeth II for the first time as president last month — took office as president earlier this year. As Blinken said himself: "President Biden has taken several executive actions demonstrating this administration's commitment to human rights and has directed agencies across the U.S. government to take concrete actions to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world." (via the U.S. Department of State).