Wednesday, 19 September 2018 22:13

Trump administration erased the notion of gender on the Department of State's website

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Trump administration has replaced the "Gender Designation Change" page with another one titled "Change of Sex Marker" on a government site. This is a hidden attempt to make believe that the law on passport gender markers no longer exists. But the current gender marker policy on US passports remains unchanged.

Changes made on the website may create confusion for transgender people. Since 2010, they had been able to visit the site and learn how to change their gender marker.

As listed by the National Center for Transgender Equality, the most important changes have been:

  • Links to resources from the American Medical Association and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) have been removed.
  • A new paragraph highlights burdensome provisions of the 2010 policy, specifically for two-year provisional passports for people who submit letters stating they are “in the process” of transition.
  • A needless paragraph has been added to the website stating, "A U.S. passport does not list the bearer's gender identity. The sex marker on your U.S. passport is based on your evidence of U.S. citizenship and identity, including a medical certification of sex change. The sex marker may not match the gender in which you identify." Though this language is undesirable and uninformed, it does not change the requirements of the policy.
  • Most mentions of the word “gender” have been replaced with the word “sex.”
  • In the FAQ, to the question: "Can travel documents have a non-binary identification marker?" The response states: “No, the only sex markers available for a U.S. passport are male and female.“

“While ultimately pointless, this move seems designed to frighten, confuse, and keep transgender people from exercising their full rights under the current policy—the same policy we fought for and won in 2010,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“Transgender people can and absolutely should continue to update and renew their passports. That is our right and that should always be our right.”

In a statement to the Center, a state department official said: “We want to state unequivocally that there has been no change in policy or in the way we adjudicate passports for transgender applicants. The Department of State is committed to treating all passport applicants with dignity and respect.

“With regard to the web update, we added language to make our use of terms consistent and accurate and to eliminate any confusion customers may have related to the passport application process. We apologize for inadvertently including some language which may be considered offensive and are updating the website to remove it.”

This change follows other recent changes hiding LGBTQ resources on the websites of the Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Small Business Administration.

If you want more information about gender designation change on passports, visit the website of the National Center for Transgender Equality: https://transequality.org/know-your-rights/passports