By Matthew Gardner, CNN • Updated 11th May 2017
Plenty of coys have preceded the debut of the gender “X” on U.S. passports, but no passport in the country has been issued bearing the designation.
The U.S. State Department last week issued its first such passport, confirming it’s the 18th gender marker available to travelers. The issue comes six months after a federal judge ordered that the department roll out the identifier across its passport lines.
US passport shows for ‘X’ as “no gender”
The congressionally-mandated display is “part of a continuing effort to recognize an individual’s ability to self-identify their gender,” the State Department said in a statement.
A document labeled “U.S. Passport” pops up on a screen when users make a request to have a change in their gender registered on a passport. Users must request a gender marker change after they make their request to have the change’s “X” appear.
“The decision to enable this technology is responsive to the fact that the transgender community has been asking for a definitive indication of gender since the certification of the Gender Recognition Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1990,” the statement said.
People could have changed their gender markers on passports by filling out a form — one they were given each time they traveled, for instance — but a legal conflict arose over a provision in a different law that blocked government-issued identification from reflecting a person’s gender designation, according to the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper.
By 2017, at least four dozen countries across the globe had also recognized X on passports, according to the Blade.
There’s no word yet on when passport records will be available for buyers outside the United States, but travelers don’t have to be locals to use the feature.