Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Passport Gender Guidelines

The State Department just released a statement yesterday ( about its new policy about the gender marker on passports being issued. It's huge news in the transgender community, and could be the first and largest domino in a chain to revise Draconian gender marker policies.

Until July 10, the policy for determining the gender marker on passports will have been that the passport holder must have a letter from a surgeon for SRS (sexual reassignment surgery) before applying the gender-appropriate marker. The only exception was that temporary passports could be issued for an overseas trip to have the surgery performed. According to WPATH standards, a person must be living full time in their target gender for at least a year before having surgery. The price for a reputable surgeon costs anywhere from 16,000 dollars to 22,0000 dollars for male to female and female to male is even more expensive. Because of the mandatory time in the gender role, the cost of the procedure, unfair insurance practices to deny coverage, and the fact that the surgery is too dangerous for some people to undergo, transitioning women in most states are forced to live full time with the stigma of their prior gender marked on their identification--which is used for employment, housing, credit, law enforcement--and discrimination.

But the new change in policy will change the impact of the gender marker problem. According to the state department:

Beginning June 10, when a passport applicant presents a certification from an attending medical physician that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition, the passport will reflect the new gender. The guidelines include detailed information about what information the certification must include. It is also possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition. No additional medical records are required. Sexual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite for passport issuance. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad can also be amended with the new gender.

What this means, is that a person in transition will be able to obtain a permanent identification that can be used in all the above locations without a gender marker that flags them for possible discrimination and instead carries a gender marker that reflects who they are.

Essentially, a lot of the power of the state id's to enforce the gender identification of a transgender person to their birth sex, has just been stripped. And hopefully, the social security administration and other states will be forced to follow suit.

I should mention that the new policy goes into effect 4 days before my birthday, and since I'm planning a little month-long trip to Thailand next July...

I see my endocrynologist for a follow up the first week of August. I should show her this and ask her for a certification for having "undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition."

Hugs and God Bless,

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