The U.S. will no longer require Americans applying for passports or consular reports of birth abroad to undergo a medical certification if their self-selected gender doesn’t match the gender listed on other citizenship or identity documents, the State Department announced.
The nod toward LGBTQ communities comes as the Biden administration seeks to clear bureaucratic hurdles to expanding gender options on key personal documents and after consultations with “like-minded governments,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. More changes are coming soon, he added.
“The Department has begun moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport” or consular report of birth abroad, Blinken said. “The process of adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons to these documents is technologically complex and will take time for extensive systems updates.”
The move, at the end of Pride Month, comes after Biden appointed a special envoy for LGBTQ issues and signed a law designating the former Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a national memorial to commemorate the 2016 shooting that killed 49 people.
“We’re also making progress but I know we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do,” Biden said last week. “We must protect the gains we’ve made and fend off the cruel and unconscionable attacks we’re seeing now to ensure that everyone enjoys the full promise of equality and dignity and protection.”
Biden has called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The House passed the bill in February but it has run into opposition from Republicans in the Senate who say the measure infringes on religious freedom.
The Equality Act would amend federal civil rights laws and extend protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity in the workforce, public places and government programs. It would allow LGBTQ+ individuals to take civil action in court for alleged discrimination.
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