US State Department announces new non-binary option on US passports


Ritika Gupta

The new “Non-Binary” option on U.S. passports will be available to regular passport applicants in early 2022.

Ritika Gupta and Kazuya Yasui

On October 27th, the State Department issued a 3rd passport for non-binary, intersex, and non-conforming Americans. Instead of having an “M” or “F” character denoted on the passport, these passports denote an “X” character. 

“It means a lot to me, to see progress in gender equality and just to see my gender being represented,” said Anya Saxena (‘24).

The new passports were announced four months ago, and should be available to all regular passport applicants in early 2022. 

“I think it’s a great step towards gender equality and acceptance, and it’s cool seeing more acceptance not just in society but also in official government documents like these passports,” said Ibrahim Riazi (‘24).

The fight for a non-binary passport began in October of 2015, when Dana Zzyym filed a lawsuit against the Department of State for denying them a passport because they did not conform to the traditional genders. On June 30, 2021, after years of efforts, the State Department began an effort to add the third gender marker on US passports. 

“It’s a good momentum starter to help continue and grow the current movement for gender equality. I think we should build upon this change,” said Zymon Baron (‘23).

Though the non-binary option for passports is a great step for the LGBTQ+ community, many feel that there is still much that can be improved. Although on the federal level genders besides the traditional male and female genders are being recognized, 24 states in the US still do not recognize these other genders. 

“I think the main next step is a social change, where it’s comfortable for all genders including non-binary and non-gender conforming people to be themselves,” said Saxena.