Earlier this summer, a constituent reached out to my office who needed help securing a passport in time for an important work conference.
My office helps constituents obtain rush passports all the time – but in this case, the constituent needed a passport with the new “X” gender marker, for individuals who identify as unspecified or another gender identity. The problem was, the only passport agency that processes rush passport applications with the X gender marker is in Washington, DC. If they went to the local passport agency in Los Angeles, they would have had to apply for a passport with the incorrect gender marker.
Furthermore, we learned that while right now individuals can apply for a regular U.S. passport with the X gender marker, that service has yet to be expanded to all the international travel documents and conveniences many people have access to such as emergency passports, passport cards, and Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry.
Luckily, we were able to get this constituent a passport with the correct gender marker in time for their conference. But it brought an issue to our attention that we feel needs to be resolved immediately.
Today, I sent a letter to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security encouraging them to expand access to gender-affirming markers for all of their travel services and documents. All Americans, regardless of their gender identity, should be able to work, study, and travel abroad with full dignity and respect for who they are.