The United States has taken, since Monday, April 11, one more step towards the recognition of a neutral gender, neither masculine nor feminine. Anyone applying for a passport in the country will now be able to tick the “X” box, instead of only choosing between male and female. The announcement was made by the State Department on March 31, the International Day of Transgender Visibility.
By fulfilling this promise made in the fall, the State Department becomes, according to a press release, the “first federal agency” US to offer this option on an official identity document. A few other countries allow a similar approach. Australia had created this neutral genre in 2011. Since then, Pakistan, Nepal, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Argentina have followed.
“Transgender people are among the bravest in our country. But no one should be brave just to be themselves”, the White House said in a statement. The State Department had already revealed, in October 2021, to have issued the first American passport with an “X” under the mention “sex”, but it was not then a routine procedure.
“There, I have the State which says who I am as a person”
Among the first people to apply for these new gender-neutral identity papers, D. Ojeda places a cross in the box marked with an “X”, confirming, without having to justify it, her change of gender from to his previous passport mentioning a female gender. D. – who uses the pronouns they et them in English, iel, in French and prefers to be given to the masculine – find that ” incredible “.
Because if his family “still does not recognize” his identity, with such a document, at least the state [la] recognize[ra] »D. told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
My family, they still haven’t understood. They still don’t use the first name I want. There, at least, I have the state that says who I am as a person. And, you know, I can tell people, ‘Here are my papers, the state sees me like that, and maybe you should start looking at me as I am.’
1.2 million non-binary people in the United States
The White House also announced a series of initiatives to facilitate administrative procedures for transgender people: an update of the body scanners used in airports to take into account non-binary and intersex people; simplification of many administrative procedures; or even the creation of an information website on gender transition, aimed at young people and their parents.
“It’s a nice symbol of support [qui] is surely going to be significant for a small number of people”salutes, for his part, Abeni Jones, author and artist, in a column published by the Washington Post. However, for one who has “socially transitioned, [fait inscrire le genre féminin sur son passeport] and underwent breast surgery.it is not quite a “advance for inclusion” in a proportion as presented by the Department of State. “There would be a simpler, less expensive and more powerful option: to remove the mention of sex from all passports”says Abeni Jones.
About 1.2 million people identify as non-binary in the United States, according to a study from the University of California published in June. Only about 16,700 of them, or 1.4%, would be likely to apply for a gender-neutral passport, finds a study by the Williams Institute, an American think tank, relayed by the newspaper The Hill.
The question of gender among the most divisive
D. Ojeda has a gender-neutral Virginia driver’s license. Currently, twenty-one states and the District of Columbia allow such permits. But issues of gender and identity are among the most divisive in the country. Other States, conservatives, have adopted restrictive regulations, in particular on the care to be given to transgender minors, on the practice of sports, or even the use of the toilets.
In Texas, investigations have been opened against parents under a controversial directive from the governor, which equates certain procedures “sex change” for minors to ” bad treatments “ criminally reprehensible. He cites surgical operations but also hormonal treatments. « L’administration [fédérale] once again condemns the proliferation of dangerous legislative attacks against transgender people in several states”reads the White House statement.
“This type of law has been proven to stigmatize and endanger the well-being of transgender children” and “risk of creating discrimination and harassment” against their families, says the American executive.