American citizens who do not identify as either male or female may now select X on their passport applications. The new gender marker went into effect on Monday after being announced in June.
The move seeks to grant more visibility to non-binary citizens. In October 2021, the State Department added a third gender option following a successful lawsuit by an intersex resident of Colorado in 2015.
Passport applications are now offering three gender choices, F, M and X, which is officially defined as “unspecified or another gender identity.” The State Department adopted this definition after seeking public feedback and based on interviews with members of LGBTQ+ groups.
Applicants will no longer be required to produce a medical certificate. The X marker is now available on newly issued passports, and by late 2023 it is expected that it will also be available on other documents.
The X marker is the result of a personal battle by Dana Zzyym, a Colorado resident who applied for a passport, checked both the M and F boxes and wrote “intersexual” on the application. ZZyym was born male and as such served in the US Army, then later identified as intersexual while studying at the state university. After successfully suing the State Department, Zzyym became the first person to get a passport with the gender “X” marker in December.
US State Secretary Antony Blinken said in late June that the department he heads “is committed to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons.”
The US now joins a group of countries that offer more than two gender options such as Canada, Australia, India, Malta, Nepal and New Zealand.
“It’s great news for all intersex and non-binary people, because it basically says that we can get our passports,” Zzyym told the public broadcaster NPR in June. “We don’t have to lie to get our passports. We can just be ourselves.”