As part of International Transgender Day of Visibility, the State Department announced Thursday that all United States citizens will be able to select an X gender marker on their passport applications.
The move marks a significant advancement toward the rights and legal recognition of intersex people and those who identify as nonbinary. The option will be available for passports beginning April 11, according to a statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with other forms of documentation to follow next year.
The United States issued its first gender neutral passport last year following a discrimination lawsuit by an intersex Colorado resident who does not identify as male or female, as NPR reported. A handful of countries—including Canada, Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, and Nepal—already allow third genders on official documents. According to Blinken, the State Department followed after extensive consultation with the public, health officials, and partner countries.
It warns, however, that travelers could encounter obstacles elsewhere in the world. “You may face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the X gender marker,” the State Department website says. “Before you travel, check with the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States for more information.”
The announcement was part of a broader package of actions to “support the mental health of transgender children, remove barriers that transgender people face accessing critical government services, and improve the visibility of transgender people in our nation’s data,” according to a statement and fact sheet released Thursday from the White House.