U.S. Travelers Can Soon Choose 'X' As Their Gender on Passports — What to Know
Travelers will be able to select an "X" as their gender on passport applications starting this month, the Department of State announced on Thursday.
Starting April 11, all U.S. citizens will have the option to select the "X" marker on their passport applications, indicating "unspecified or another gender identity," according to the State Department. The definition was decided on after "qualitative research" with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics as well as after consulting "many members of the LGBTQI community."
"This definition is respectful of individuals' privacy while advancing inclusion," the department wrote in a statement. "We continue to work closely with our federal government partners to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity."
The U.S. has now joined several countries in allowing travelers to self-select their gender on their passports, including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Canada.
Initially, the "X" gender marker will only be available for passports with routine service, according to the State Department. In late 2023, the department plans to expand the option to passport cards as well as passports with expedited service.
The wide introduction of this option comes months after the State Department issued its first "X" gender passport in October 2021. It also comes nearly a year after the department adopted a policy of allowing travelers to self-select their gender without having to provide any medical documentation, regardless of the gender on other citizenship or identity documents.
The rollout of the "X" gender marker on passports comes as the Transportation Security Administration is working to shift to more gender-neutral standards for screening passengers at U.S. airports, including making its TSA PreCheck program more inclusive and reducing pat-down screenings.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.