Americans applying for a passport with be able to request gender-neutral passports, beginning April 11. The U.S. State Department announced the new option on March 31, Transgender Day of Visibility.

The department said an X would appear on the Travel document in the area where the holder's sex was now given. The gender-neutral option "will become available for other forms of documentation next year," the State Department announcement said.

Privacy and inclusion

"The Department is setting a precedent as the first federal government agency to offer the X gender marker on an identity document," the announcement said.

It explained that the X would officially stand for "unspecified or another gender identity." The announcement said, "This definition is respectful of individuals’ privacy while advancing inclusion." The entire announcement can be viewed at the State Department website.

On Twitter, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the gender-neutral option a "meaningful step towards LGBTQI+ inclusivity."

Transgender Day of Visibility

The announcement of gender-neutral passports came one day after U.S. President Joe Biden had proclaimed March 31, 2022 Transgender Day of Visibility.

"To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave. You belong. I have your back," Biden said in the proclamation. At the time, Biden said Americans would soon have the chance to have passports with "inclusive gender markers."

"Transgender women and girls — especially transgender women and girls of color — continue to face epidemic levels of violence," he said.

He noted that last year had been "the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans."

An 'onslaught' against transgender Americans

The preceding year had also seen state legislatures consider "hundreds of anti-transgender bills," Biden said. "The onslaught has continued this year," he noted. Legislative attempts to bar transgender children from taking part in athletics "undermine their humanity and corrode our Nation’s values," Biden said.

He said his Executive Order Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation reflected his commitment "to ensuring that transgender people enjoy the freedom and equality that are promised to everyone in America." The proclamation appears on the White House website.

The New York Times noted that Australia, Canada and New Zealand already made gender-neural passports available to their citizens. The paper said that over 20 American states currently made gender-neutral driver's licenses available. Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the paper that the introduction of gender-neutral passports was "absolutely phenomenal for transgender Americans."