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US State Department changes language about gender on passports

Written by gaytourism

More red tape for transgender people | Photo: Unsplash/Jeremy Dorrough

The National Center for Transgender Equality revealed earlier this week the US State Department changed language about gender markers on passports.

In their report, they listed the changes from old statements in 2010, to new ones out of Donald Trump’s administration.

While the policy itself remains unchanged, the Center warns the change in language could cause fear and confusion among transgender and other non-cisgender identifying people.

Since 2010, the page regarding gender on US passports was labeled as Gender Desgination Change. The new page is Sex Designation Change, although it now leads to an error page and there is no current page for gender or sex desgination changes.

According to the Center, some of the changes included replacing the word ‘gender’ with ‘sex’. Another was removing links to resources from the American Medical Association and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health.

It also included information on why the 2010 page was wrong.

‘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 Center.

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

An apology and more change

The Center tweeted earlier today a statement from the State Department.

In it, they apologize for the changed language and indicated they’re updating the page once again.

Statement from the State Department

Statement from the State Department | Photo: Twitter @TransEquality

Here is the statement:

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.

The Center will be hosting a Facebook Live tomorrow (14 September) to explain all this.

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