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Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to announce Wednesday a major passport policy change: U.S. passport applicants will be able to select their gender without supplying the government any forms of certifying medical documents.
Biden promised the passport gender changes on the 2020 campaign trail, and the Washington Examiner reviewed the advisory alerting congressional offices of the new policy on Tuesday evening. The announcement specifically notes that citizens and qualifying U.S. nationals "will now be able to select the gender they would like printed on their U.S. passports, even if the gender they select does not match the gender on their supporting documentation such as a birth certificate, previous passport, or state ID."
The advisory directs individuals seeking a "new passport with a different gender than the one they have on their current passport" or first-time passport applicants to visit travel.state.gov/gender for more information on how to "submit a new application and select their preferred gender marker."
State Department officials added in the advisory the federal government is "also beginning the process of updating our procedures for the issuance of U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs) with the goal of offering a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons."
"The process of adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons to these documents is complex and will take time for extensive updates to our information technology (IT) systems," the advisory continues. "In the meantime, applicants cannot apply for a passport with a non-binary, intersex, or gender non-conforming gender marker."
The change comes amid a wave of sex and gender inclusivity reforms launched and supported by the Biden administration. The U.S. Army announced earlier in June it would front the cost for all gender transition therapies, hormone therapy, mental health treatments, and any other related procedures for transgender soldiers. That shift came after Biden revoked the Trump administration ban on transgender people serving in the military in January.
Biden additionally reiterated his calls for Congress to pass the Equality Act during a White House Pride celebration on June 25.
“Representation matters. Recognition matters,” Biden said. “There’s something else that matters: Results. Results. I’m proud to lead the most pro-LGBTQ equality administration in U.S. history.”
Still, some GOP officials expressed concerns to the Washington Examiner that the State Department is "jumping on the culture war train" while still facing a passport backlog caused by service stoppages during the pandemic and the subsequent surge in people looking to travel abroad as other countries lift coronavirus travel restrictions.
According to the government's own estimates, the standard passport turnaround currently takes four months. Applicants can pay $60 to expedite the process, but that time frame is still estimated to take 12 weeks to complete, compared to the two- or three-week time frame in the past.
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Original Author: Christian Datoc