U.S. citizens can select gender-neutral X marker on passports beginning April 11

U.S. passports
(Image credit: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The United States will officially allow citizens to select "X" as a gender marker on their passports beginning next month.

Jessica Stern, U.S. diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, announced the news, calling it a "momentous step," NBC News reports.

"The addition of a third gender marker propels the U.S. forward toward ensuring that our administrative systems account for the diversity of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics among U.S. citizens," Stern said, adding that "there is a wider spectrum of humanity than is represented by a binary sex designation on passports."

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in June 2021 the U.S. would add a "gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons" on passports, a process he described as "technologically complex." In doing so, Blinken said, the U.S. would be "ensuring the fair treatment of LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender or sex."

By October 2021, the first passport with an X gender marker was officially issued. The State Department said at the time this would be offered to all citizens "once we complete the required system and form updates in early 2022," though no specific date was provided. But the news that X gender passports will be offered beginning April 11 came just in time for Transgender Day of Visibility, which President Biden recognized in a statement.

"To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your president sees you," Biden said. "[You are] ... made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect, and support. On this day and every day, we recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people."

Blinken also said the X gender marker being made available to U.S. citizens is a "historic moment" and a "meaningful step towards LGBTQI+ inclusivity."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.