Americans will soon be able to self-identify gender on passports

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Americans will soon be able to select whichever gender they identify as on their passports — without medical certification. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced in a press release that the Department of State would be changing its polices regarding gender identification on passports. Passport applicants will be able to self-select their gender as "M" or "F" and will no longer require a doctor's note if their self-selected gender doesn't match the gender on any other forms of government-issued identification forms, like citizenship papers or drivers licenses.

Blinken also announced that the department is working on adding an option for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming Americans who are applying for a passport or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA). 

"The Department is taking these steps after considerable consultation with like-minded governments who have undertaken similar changes," Blinken said in the statement. He also called the process "technologically complex" and said that it would take "extensive system updates," but that the State Department would be updating travelers and hopefully providing interim solutions on their website. 

Since taking charge of the White House, the Biden administration has taken steps to promote LGBTQ+ rights. In January, the White House website was changed to allow for more inclusive pronouns, including they/them, other, or prefer not to share in addition to she/her, he/him. Those who select other also have the option to write-in their preferred pronouns. President Biden also has been pushing Congress to pass the Equality Act.

The act would enshrine legal protections for LGBTQ Americans into law, and condemn the recent spate of discriminatory bills under consideration or passed in multiple state legislatures. In the 2021 legislative session alone, 23 states have considered more than 50 bills targeting transgender youth, according to a list maintained by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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