At a time when trans rights are in serious peril in the USA, it comes as a bit of good news that the government has announced it will start issuing gender neutral passports from April 11.
Rolled out today to coincide with the Transgender Day of Visibility, US citizens will be able to check ‘X’ in the gender section of a passport application which is huge win for trans and non-binary people.
The US Department of Homeland Security announced a number of measures designed to improve the travel for transgender people including a reduction in pat downs and the removal of’ gender considerations when validating a traveller’s ID at airport security checkpoints’.
President Biden has been very vocal about being an ally and has made scathing remarks about Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and many of the other proposals by Republicans designed to make life harder for LGBTQ+ people.
In November 2021, to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance, The White House, for the first time in history, held a candle-lit vigil to mark the day, which involved lighting 46 candles in honour of transgender and gender-diverse individuals killed in the country at that point in the year. A 47th candle was lit for those who lost their lives to violence globally.
Today, four moths later, Biden issued a White House statement (31 March) to mark Transgender Day of Visibility and “recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.”
He began with: “To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you”, before promising that his “entire Administration is committed to ensuring that transgender people enjoy the freedom and equality that are promised to everyone in America.”
“That is why I signed an Executive Order Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” the President continued.
The proclamation comes as conservative states continue to introduce and pass new anti-trans legislation, with dozens of bills targeting trans youth.
Just yesterday (3o March) Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law banning trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams. Just hours later, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed a similar anti-trans sports bill into law.
2021 was the deadliest year on record for trans people in America.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the annual number of anti-LGBTQ bills to have been filed in the US catapulted from 41 throughout the whole of 2018 to 238 in less than three months of 2022.
That amounts to more than 3 per day, with approximately over half of them targeting transgender people specifically.
Read Biden’s full White House proclamation for Trans Visibility Day here.