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In historic move, US issues first passport with ‘X’ gender

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Biden has promised to make LGBTQ rights advocacy a top priority of his administration. (file)

Washington:

The United States on Wednesday announced its first passport with an “X” for gender, a historic move for people outside the binary male or female categories.

The State Department said it had issued the first passports with an “X” for gender and would make regular options available by early 2022 for both passports and birth certificates for Americans abroad.

“On the occasion of this passport issuance, I would like to reiterate the state’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity and equality of all people, including LGBTQI+ individuals,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised to address the issue in June, but said there were technical hurdles that needed to be addressed.

Under Blinken, the State Department has also allowed US passport holders to select their gender on the passport.

Previously, Americans were required to have medical certification if they sought to mark a different gender on their passports than on their birth certificates or other documents.

At least 11 other countries already have “X” or “other” options for passports, according to London-based advocacy group Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion.

The State Department made the announcement during the week of Intersex Awareness Day as it vowed to support those who face discrimination over their gender identity.

President Joe Biden has promised to make LGBTQ rights advocacy a top priority of his administration.

It is a major change from Donald Trump’s previous administration, during which Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo barred US embassies from flying rainbow pride flags.

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