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U.S. State Department Revises Policy on Gender Change in US Passports

The U.S. State Department announced on June 9 that it is revising the policy guidelines for stated gender change on U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. The new policy makes it so that transgender people will no longer need to have undergone sexual reassignment surgery in order to change the stated gender on their passports. According to a press release from the U.S. State Department, “beginning 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.” Limited-validity passports will also be made available for people in the process of gender transition, reported the Associated Press. The new policy is seen as a triumph for transgender people. Previous U.S. State Department guidelines stated that sexual reassignment surgery was a prerequisite to gender change on U.S. passports. These guidelines posed problems for transgender people who did not choose to undergo surgery, or those traveling in countries hostile to gender change, as their stated gender did not match up with their physical appearance. According to the U.S. State Department, under the new policy, passport issuing officers at embassies and consulates abroad, as well as domestic passport agencies and centers, are only permitted to ask questions that will determine citizenship and identity. According to CNN, the announcement of the policy change purposefully overlaps with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month.

Sources:

CNN 6/9/10; Associated Press 6/10/10; U.S. Department of State Press Release 6/9/10