Alarming new changes to the gender marker on passports created last week

Documentation required for changing gender markers on passports replaced “gender” with “sex,” and limited access to resources for queer people.

Last week, the U.S. Department of State altered documentation required for transgender people to obtain correctly gendered documentation. These changes include replacing the language of “gender” with “sex” as well as the removal of resources like the Word Professional Association of Transgender Health from the webpage.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the gender marker policy is untouched. The language used to describe the policy is the only things that has changed thus far, as well as a paragraph clarifying their omission of gender identity.

The additional paragraph added to the page states, “A U.S. passport does not list the bearer’s gender identity. The sex marker on your U.S. passport is based on your evidence of U.S. citizenship and identity, including a medical certification of sex change. The sex marker may not match the gender in which you identify.”

Although there is no change to the actual policy, the change in language causes confusion and concern for the direction of the government’s alterations to the “Gender Designation” policies associated with U.S. Passports.

The U.S. Dept. of State responded to NCTE’s notice the next day in an effort to clarify concerns.

“We want to state unequivocally that there has been no change in policy or in the way we adjudicate passports for transgender applicants,” the State Department said to NCTE. “The Department of State is committed to treating all passport applicants with dignity and respect. With regard to the web update, we add language to make out use of terms consistent and accurate and to eliminate any confusion customers may have related to the passport application process. We apologize for inadvertently including some language which may be considered offensive and are updating the website to remove it.”

Currently, the page still says “sex designation change” instead of “gender designation change.”

Taking Action…

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon College has already informed transgender students considering study abroad to apply for a passport sooner than later.

The USC LGBT Resource Center is doing the same.

If you identify as transgender and would like to apply for a correctly gendered passport, it is best to apply soon before further measures potentially take place. Required documentation for this application include: Passport Form DS-11 or Form DS-5504, an identification card, passport photo, a medical certification from your medical professional regarding your transition, and, if applicable, proof of legal name change. Further details on the application can be found here with the National Center for Transgender Equality

The Trump administration has already made efforts to limit LGBTQ resources and we’d like to supply our students with support that may be lost in translation.