The State Department said Wednesday it will no longer require Americans to provide medical documentation proving their gender on passport applications, paving the way for individuals to choose a gender they self-identify with regardless of what their birth certificate or hospital records indicate.
“The Department of State is committed to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people — including LGBTQI+ persons,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing the policy change on the final day of Pride Month.
“Most immediately, we will be updating our procedures to allow applicants to self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F’ and will no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents,” Mr. Blinken said.
He added that the State Department has also “begun moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport or [Consular Reports of Birth Abroad].”
“We are evaluating the best approach to achieve this goal,” the secretary of state said. “The process of adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex and gender non-conforming persons to these documents is technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates.”
Mr. Blinken said the changes fit with President Biden’s commitment to human rights and directive to agencies across the U.S. government to take “concrete actions to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”
He said the State Department has consulted with “like-minded governments who have undertaken similar changes.”
It was not immediately clear which governments Mr. Blinken was referring to. While several European nations have promoted changes on gender-related issues, it remains to be seen how some nations, such as China, whose government recognizes neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions, or Russia, which banned same-sex marriage last year, will react to the development.