US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand
June 02, 2021
Third Gender Marker An Important Step Toward Equality For Transgender, Intersex, And Non-binary Americans
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led a bicameral letter with Senator Baldwin (D-WI), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), and nearly two dozen colleagues in support of a permanent, gender-neutral marker (“X”) option for all federal IDs. Establishing a third gender marker as an option for identification is an important step toward equality for transgender, intersex, and non-binary Americans and will help ensure all individuals can obtain identification that accurately reflects who they are, regardless of gender identity.
“Including a gender-neutral ‘X’ marker for federal IDs is important to supporting transgender and non-binary Americans,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Your license is a key to opportunity, and it should recognize the fullness of who you are. I am proud to co-lead this effort in the Senate so that all people can obtain basic identification without discriminatory barriers.”
Today, twenty US states and the District of Columbia have made gender-neutral markers available for state-level IDs. Despite this, as of 2015 only 11% of trans people nationwide had an accurate name and gender marker on all IDs and records. Creating a federal standard for the gender-neutral marker will help ensure transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals can obtain accurate and affirming documents without navigating discriminatory barriers.
The full text of the letter can be found here and below.
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
We write with appreciation for the actions your Administration has already taken to address discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities. Today, we write in hopes that you will take another important step towards equality for transgender, intersex, and nonbinary Americans. We believe that a gender-neutral marker (“X”) should be available on all federal IDs, and that accurate gender markers should be accessible using a self-attestation standard. An executive order to this effect will ensure transgender, non-binary, and intersex individuals can obtain accurate and affirming documents without navigating discriminatory barriers.
The federal government currently requires gender markers on a variety of identity documents, including US passports. On many of these documents, however, only an “F” or “M” designation is available, and current policies meant to update gender markers make the process of obtaining a gender-neutral marker unnecessarily difficult. For example, agencies often require individuals to produce documents such as medical records to update their IDs. Obtaining these documents typically requires out-of-pocket medical expenses, thereby limiting access to those who merely want to have their information accurately displayed on identifying documents.
In recognition of the need for gender-inclusive ID policies, nearly 20 states have taken action to ensure individuals can simply select an M, F, or X marker on state-level IDs, and a gender-neutral passport with an X gender marker is available in Argentina, Canada, Iceland, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Uruguay, and most of Australia. Despite this, as of 2015 only 11% of trans people nationwide had an accurate name and gender marker on all IDs and records. Stream-lined policies are necessary to ensure that individuals of all genders have access to accurate and honest documentation. We believe that an executive order with the following stipulations could effectively address this issue:
- Require all federal agencies that collect and/or display gender markers to include an undesignated or neutral X option.
- Require these agencies to mandate a self-attestation standard, allowing all individuals to indicate M, F, or X as their gender marker and preventing agencies from imposing discriminatory requirements such as medical records.
Thank you again for your ongoing work to address systemic discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and thank you for your prompt consideration of this important issue.