New Policy on Gender Change in Passports Announced
The US Department of State has announced new policy guidelines regarding gender change in passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.
Beginning today, June 10, when a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender.
The guidelines include detailed information about what information the certification must include. It is also possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition.
No additional medical records are required and sexual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite for passport issuance.
The new rules will also apply to changing a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) for US citizens who were born outside of the United States. CRBA's are the equivalent of a birth certificate.
For years, the National Center for Transgender Eqaulity has been advocating with the State Department to change their rules about gender markers on passports and CRBA's.
Previously they had required proof of irreversible sex reassignment surgery before the gender marker could be changed, although there were exceptions for temporary, provisional passports to allow someone to travel for surgery.
"We want to extend our thanks to the Obama Administration, and particularly to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, for understanding the need for this change and then responding to make travel safer for transgender people," commented Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE. "This shows how changes in government policy directly impact people's lives, in this case, for the better."
NCTE and other advocates have stressed with the State Department that this policy unnecessarily called attention to transgender travelers whose appearance and gender marker were at odds.
In some destinations, this had the potential to create an extremely dangerous situation when a traveler is outed as transgender in an unwelcoming environment or in the presence of prejudiced security personnel.
To stay abreast of changes in the policy and other news, visit nctequality.org