The U.S. State Department is altering its passport documentation procedures. Medical paperwork restrictions for transgender Americans are being abolished in an effort to become more inclusive, enabling individuals to alter their records with their desired gender markers.
Gender issues have been a contentious and hotly contested topic recently. 2021 is a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation, which consequently, harms minors the most.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement,
“Today, I am pleased to announce that the Department will be taking further steps toward ensuring the fair treatment of LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender or sex, by beginning the process of updating our procedures for the issuance of U.S. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA).” He went on to add, “Most immediately, we will be updating our procedures to allow applicants to self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F’ and will no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents.”
On the campaign road, Joe Biden vowed a shift towards gender equality. Blinken says that the administration expresses its
“enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward”.
Additional changes to the passport procedure, including a gender marker for “non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming people applying for a passport or CRBA.” are also being made.
Although positive action is being taken by President Biden to increase awareness and preserve the rights and dignities of the LGBTQI+ communities in the U.S., legislators have been asking for more. According to 19th News, a group of Democratic lawmakers are also asking to utilise Biden’s authority to require a gender-neutral “X” on government identity papers.
According to the Human Rights Campaign (one of the country’s major LGBTQI+ advocacy organisations), at least 117 bills, focusing on the transgender community, have come into existence during the current legislative term. This is the greatest number seen by any group since anti-LGBTQI+ laws have begun tracking, over 15 years ago.
The majority of new anti-transgender legislation has the potential to harm transgender youth. This is a demographic that academics and medical professionals say already display elevated rates of suicide and depression.
Recent Anti-LBQTI+ legislation directly contradicts the Biden administration’s stance on transgender rights. President Joe Biden made the first government proclamation on March 31st at this year’s International Transgender Day of Visibility.
On this same day, the Pentagon released new regulations allowing transgender Americans to serve openly in the military; thus overturning the Trump administration’s ban.
President Biden has been making strides to improve the lives of LGBTQI+ people during his first 6 months in office. He has also begun the massive task of addressing the problems affecting LGBTQ minors. This includes taking many executive steps towards advancing rights which can protect their dignities.
In February, The Equality Act, put forward in Congress in February looks to modify the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It expressly includes gender identity and sexual orientation as protected groups.
In another recent historic decision, Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, states that transgender veterans will be eligible to have gender confirmation surgery via veterans affairs health care coverage.
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