In late 2023, the U.S Department of State will allow three gender marking choices when selecting your gender on a passport application for all travel documentation. The three marks are M, F, and X. Gender marker X, or “unspecified or another gender identity” is for those who do not identify with the male or female gender. It was implemented to include groups who are or might be non-binary, intersex, or gender non-conforming. These individuals sure benefit from this implementation but so does the Transgender community. They are now able to change their gender marker to affirm their identity.
The U.S Department of State notes how they are committed to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people, including those who identify within the LGBTQI+ community. The U.S Department of State being the first federal government agency to offer gender-inclusive gender markings on identity documents. They are sure to make the statement that government offices should be working to serve its citizens the best they can, regardless of gender.
For now, the U.S Department of State is only offering passport books to reflect the gender change. In late 2023, the feature will be available for all documentation provided by the Department.
Do You Need Medical Documentation?
While it may have been required in the past for citizens to have medical documentation before allowing a gender change, that is no longer the process. You do not have to show any medical documentation, even if your identification or previous passports do not reflect your current gender.
This new process can be extremely relieving for those who do not want to go through certain medical or psychological procedures to be able to have their gender on their documents affirm the gender that they identify with. This is a big step towards equality. As of a few months ago, the process of legal sex change or gender change was highly inaccessible for people who needed it.
How To Apply for a Passport Gender Change
You can apply for a gender change on your U.S passport either as a New/ first-time passport or you can apply to renew by mail.
If you are applying for a New Passport, you must fit at least one of these requirements, as listed by the U.S Department of State:
- You are applying for your first U.S. passport
- You are under age 16
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16
- Previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged
- Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago
If you meet at least one of these requirements, you can apply using Form DS-11. Then you must make an appointment with a passport acceptance facility and provide your regular supplemental materials.
A passport acceptance facility search page is provided on the U.S Department of State website. The search engine lets you put in your zip code to find a place that does passports near you, it also has phone numbers, operating hours, how to get an appointment (or if walk-ins are acceptable), and it’ll let applicants know if photo services are available on-site.
If you are applying for a passport renewal, you must fill out Form DS-82 using an online form filler, and send in your supplemental materials by mail.
As for selecting your gender, they couldn’t have made it any easier. You have your M, F, and your X option. You select the gender you identify with. Then, there will be a question asking “changing your gender marker?”. If you have selected a gender different from your previous documents you will also select the “changing your gender marker?” question.
Is it Safe to Travel With an X Gender Marker on your Passport?
Traveling to certain counties may come with its own challenges if you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, nonbinary, or intersex. If you are traveling with a partner, it might get even more complicated. With approximately seventy countries considering same-sex relations a crime, it is not hard to see why you may feel uneasy having a non-binary gender marker on your travel documentation.
The U.S Department of State does urge LGBTQIA+ travelers to research the special laws and circumstances of the country they want to travel to before deciding to go. You can do this by visiting their Traveler’s Checklist, as well as Country Information pages.
One way to avoid certain issues is to update your passport to match your name and gender identity. This is suggested because many travelers have reported difficulties entering a country bearing a name and photo that does not correspond with their gender identity.
The Department of State also recommends that LGBTQIA+ travelers consider packing important documents. This can ease the process if you are dealing with your legal rights when in another country.
Legal and health documents
Parental and/or custody documents
Contact information for your family or lawyer you may have
Address and phone number of the nearest U.S consulate in English and the local language.
You should also consider buying traveler’s insurance. This is because while the United States government issues passports with the X gender marking, it cannot guarantee your entry to other countries because some countries do not recognize X as a gender.
To find out more information and tips regarding traveling as an LGBTQIQ+ member, the U.S Department of state provides a page with most, if not everything you need to know before and while traveling.
Applying for an Expedited Passport
Maybe you are traveling soon and can’t wait months to receive your new passport reflecting your gender change. Consider applying for an expedited passport with a private courier.
Private couriers, like The Passport Office, are committed to helping their community with their expedited passport services.
The Passport Office has many offices to choose from such as, expedited passport Miami, Orlando, Hollywood, and Tampa.