“The world seems safer to me now”: The non-binary passport is coming to the United States

After a month of waiting, a new little box has just popped up on an administrative form: D. Ojeda, a person who identifies as non-binary, can now apply for a US passport with an ‘X’ gender, neither male nor female.

My family “still don’t recognize who i am” but with such a document “At least the state recognizes who I am”explains the one who calls himself ‘D’, one of the first to apply for a gender neutral passport, a possibility open to all from this Monday through the administration of Joe Biden.

At his home in Alexandria, on the outskirts of Washington, D. Ojeda began to fill out the long form: name, first name and in the third box of the document the choice: “H”, “F” or “X” for men , women or neutral.

A few other countries allow a similar approach. Australia already did this in 2011, adding in particular Pakistan, Nepal, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Argentina.

Applied to his screen, D. places a cross in the last box and, without justifying it, confirms his “change of sex” compared to his previous passport which stated a female gender.

“What is difficult for transgender people is to change something. And I don’t think we need to meet a medical professional to prove who we are.”

“When we heard about it, virtually, behind our computers, we started crying to each other”says D., 34, sitting next to his desk covered in screens, in his blue sweater, thin beard on his chin, his hair pulled back.

“Look at me as I am”

The State Department had already announced in October 2021 that it had issued the first US passport with an “X” marked “sex”, but outside a routine procedure.

The expansion for all, announced on March 31, the International Day of Transgender Visibility, is accompanied by other federal government measures aimed at gradually simplifying the administrative life of transgender or non-binary people.

According to a University of California survey published last June, about 1.2 million people identify as non-binary in the United States.

D. Ojeda already has an “X” type Virginia driver’s license. “I just went to the Motor Vehicle Administration, got an appointment, filled out the form and the +X+ box was there!”.

In many other US states, Republican lawmakers are taking action against transgender people, in a political climate where gender and identity issues are among the most divisive in the country.

Born in Peru, he can’t wait to find his family there, with the new passport. “My family, they still haven’t got it. They still don’t use the first name I want”confides in D., and not his female birth name, which he does not want to use. “When I pretended to be a woman, and I really tried a lot, there was always something that bothered me”continues D.

“And 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 this, and maybe you should go see me as I am’…”


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