U.S. Issues Its First Passport With 'X' Gender Marker

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U.S. Passport.
The U.S. joins a handful of countries in allowing citizens to designate a gender other than male or female on their passports.

The United States has issued its first passport with an "X" gender designation — a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who don't identify as male or female — and expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year, the State Department said Wednesday.

The U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, called the moves historic and celebratory, saying they bring the government documents in line with the "lived reality" that there is a wider spectrum of human sex characteristics than is reflected in the previous two designations.

The department did not announce to whom the passport was issued. A department official declined to say whether it was for Dana Zzyym, an intersex Colorado resident who has been in a legal battle with the department since 2015, saying the department does not usually discuss individual passport applications because of privacy concerns.

The State Department announced in June that it was moving toward adding a third gender marker for nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people but said it would take time because it required extensive updates to its computer systems. 

A department official said the passport application and system update with the "X" designation option still need to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, which approves all government forms, before they can be issued.

The department now also allows applicants to self-select their gender as male or female, no longer requiring them to provide medical certification if their gender did not match that listed on their other identification documents.

The United States joins a handful of countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and Canada, in allowing its citizens to designate a gender other than male or female on their passports.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.