GLAAD RESPONDS TO STATE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT IMMINENT AVAILABILITY OF GENDER NEUTRAL PASSPORTS

ADDITIONAL UPDATES COMING FOR TSA SCREENINGS TO IMPROVE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE FOR TRANSGENDER, NONBINARY AND INTERSEX PEOPLE
March 31, 2022

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the Biden administration’s announcement implementing updates to identity documents and steps to improve traveler experience. The announcement is among several made on Transgender Day of Visibility.

The State Department announced that passports with the gender-neutral ‘X’ marker will be available to all Americans in two weeks. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security announced updated screening to better accommodate transgender, nonbinary, and intersex travelers, including removing gender from the identity verification process and from body scanners at airports, adding the ‘X’ marker option to TSA Pre Check, and working with airlines to ensure smooth adoption and recognition of gender-neutral forms and processes.

The Biden administration also announced:

  • Upcoming changes to the Social Security system to ease access to benefits for transgender people
  • New initiatives at the Department of Education to support inclusive school environments and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to protect transgender and nonbinary workers from discrimination
  • A new federally-run mental health resource website for LGBTQ youth
  • New funding to add sexual orientation and gender identity questions to the U.S. Census survey
  • President Biden will also speak directly to transgender youth in a new video address, reassuring them of federal support amid an onslaught of state laws that attempt to take away their access to healthcare and school sports.

President Biden issued a proclamation on the eve of Transgender Day of Visibility, recognizing the leaps in visibility for transgender Americans and the challenges they face: “On this day and every day, we recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.  We celebrate the activism and determination that have fueled the fight for transgender equality.  We acknowledge the adversity and discrimination that the transgender community continues to face across our Nation and around the world.”


QUOTE FROM SARAH KATE ELLIS, PRESIDENT & CEO OF GLAAD:
“These updates to passports and TSA policy will make it safer for transgender, nonbinary, and intersex members of our community to travel and to walk through everyday life. Everyone deserves the right to have identity documents that reflect who they are, and to go through airport security without facing harassment and public humiliation. At a time when so many state legislatures are attacking our community, it’s heartening to have federal leadership take so much action to support LGBTQ Americans, especially trans youth.”

21 U.S. states and Washington, DC, offer gender neutral options on official identification including driver’s licenses, as well as at least 15 countries around the world that offer passports with a third gender or gender-neutral option: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The first known ‘X’ marker passport was introduced in Australia in 2003. In October 2021, military veteran and intersex advocate Dana Zzyym received the first-ever U.S. passport with a gender neutral ‘X’ marker, after a six year court battle with the Department of State.

GLAAD is documenting the Biden administration’s policy moves, appointments and statements important to the LGBTQ community in its Biden Accountability Tracker.