The United States is in the planning stages of adding a third gender to its passports. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this is part of the country’s commitment to the LGBTQI+ community. But he warned that adding an option different from male or female would take time.
In the meantime, people will now be allowed to self select male or female on their passports even if the gender they select does not match the one on their supporting documentation such as a birth certificate, previous passport, or state ID. This is a significant change as before, a medical certificate was needed to change the gender marker on passports.
“With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward,” Blinken said. He added that his department will work with other agencies “to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for the passport holder.”
The US will join other countries such as India, Pakistan and Nepal who have non-binary options on their passports, while the Netherlands issued its first gender-neutral passport in 2018.