The U.S. government has issued the first U.S. passport with an X gender marker, the State Department announced on Wednesday.
“The Department of State continues the process of updating its policies regarding gender markers on U.S. passports … to better serve all U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender identity,” spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “The Department also continues to work closely with other U.S. government agencies to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity.”
Price added that the X marker option will be available to passport applicants in early 2022.
\u201c.@StateDept continues to take steps to demonstrate our commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people - including LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens. https://t.co/39tqEgJiNo\u201d
Wednesday's news follows an announcement in June that a third gender marker besides male or female would be available for nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people.
Jessica Stern, the U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ+ rights said it was a celebratory announcement and that it covers the “lived reality” of people.
“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” Stern said, according to the Associated Press.
The recipient of the passport was not announced.
An official declined to say if the passport went to Dana Zzyym, an intersex and nonbinary U.S. Navy veteran in Colorado who had sued the Department of State for only offering a male or female choice on the passport application.
The U.S. joins countries including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Canada that allow for a third gender option on their passports.
Stern said she would use this move to possibly inspire other countries to follow suit, reported the AP. “We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere,” she explained.