Americans will soon be able to pick their gender on passports

Americans will soon be able to select whichever gender they identify as, ‘M’, ‘F’, or even ‘X’, on their passports without medical certification. 

“[We] 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,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday. “The Department has begun moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport or CRBA,” Blinken continued

As of now, passport applicants will be able to self-select their gender as either “M” or “F”, and will not need to provide a doctor’s note if their self-selected gender does not match the gender on other forms of government-issued identification forms, such as driver’s licenses. In 2010, the Obama administration announced that transgender Americans could select their gender as long as they provide a physician’s note confirming they received “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.” The Biden administration’s decision comes six months after the ACLU launched a six-figure campaign targeting the federal government on LGBTQ rights.

“Thank you to the Biden administration for taking this important step forward,” said Arli Christian, an ACLU campaign strategist. “Today’s action demonstrates an important first step in realizing a whole-of-government policy for accurate IDs,” Christian continued. Proponents of the change believe LGBT individuals will face less harassment and violence after being able to self-identify. Critics argue that the Biden administration could be worrying about ‘more important’ issues.

 “Good to see the Biden administration focused on solving totally real and super serious problems,” ‘Hillbilly Elegy’  author J.D. Vance tweeted. “‘Sir, I know we have an explosion of deadly drugs pouring in across the southern border, but let’s focus on more serious problems, like gender identity on US passports,” he continued. 

The move fulfills a campaign promise by President Biden and comes several months after the State Department announced they would permit American embassies to fly the LGBT pride flag on official flagpoles. In June, the State Department announced they would fly the “Progress Pride flag,” a redesigned version of the original Pride flag. The decision overturned a Trump administration policy that prohibited embassies from flying the Pride flag on official flagpoles.