Until last year, people listed as ‘male’ on official identity documents—birth certificates, driver’s licenses, etc.—had to either choose ‘male’ on their passport applications or submit medical certification explaining why they were entitled to choose ‘female.’ (And vice versa.)
That changed in June, when Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced that medical certification was no longer required. In other words, it doesn’t matter if your birth certificate lists you as female: You can choose ‘male’ on your passport application without having to answer to anyone. The update didn’t do much for passport applicants who don’t identify as male or female, but Blinken also mentioned that his team was working on a third gender marker that they could select instead.
Now, as The Verge reports, the Department of State has revealed what it is: “Unspecified or another gender identity,” abbreviated as X. As Blinken explained in a statement, “This definition is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion.”
Before making the decision, the State Department teamed up with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics to conduct a survey of members of the LGBTQIA+ community and a diverse demographic of other participants. They also talked with countries that have expanded gender options on their own passports.
Starting Monday, April 11, you’ll be able to select X on applications for regular U.S. passport books that require only routine service, not expedited service or emergency issuance. X will be an option on those kinds of passport books—as well as passport cards and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad—sometime in late 2023. (And by that point, online passport renewals should be available, too.)
[h/t The Verge]