A prefecture on Taiwan has issued the first U.S. passport with a “customer-specific” gender marker that includes an “x” instead of “M” and “F” to indicate gender identity, the Department of State said.
Officials noted there were 3,000 applications for the license-style trans document, which will be accompanied by a gender marker identifying the person with a different biological sex.
The move comes amid a growing number of U.S. states and localities trying to accommodate the growing transgender population, and comes as the U.S. is considering issuing passports with gender markers marking any desired range of gender.
Other details remain unclear, including how an applicant would receive the permit to appear on the government-issued document.
Taiwan has its own immigration office for foreign visitors to the mainland, and from May 15, 2018, Taiwan citizens wanting a passport with a modified “custom-fit” gender designation will be able to apply for it at the country’s passport office in Taipei, officials said Friday.
Since 2010, gender-variant people have been able to obtain a “gender passport” for travel between Taiwan and the mainland. Each visitor receives one and there’s no need to produce a birth certificate showing the person’s gender.
U.S. officials acknowledge there are no guidelines on how they should handle the new document.
“Each passport application is considered on a case-by-case basis, and U.S. passport standards for identifying gender are separate and not comparable to those that apply in countries other than the United States,” said a statement from the State Department.
Asked if transgender people who wanted passports with the new gender identifier could request a special departmental waiver, the statement said it was not “appropriate to discuss individuals’ eligibility for a passport.”
Proposals to expand the types of applications that can qualify for a “gender passport” to include gender identity or expression of non-traditional sexual orientation are under review in Washington, D.C.