In June 2021, the U.S. State Department announced that it would offer a third gender option—“X”—on U.S. passports. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing to update the application to its Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) to include an “X” gender option in alignment with the State Department’s policy. TTP includes programs that allow expedited entry to the United States for pre-approved travelers and commercial drivers.
Without a third gender option, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming applicants to the TTP would be unable to accurately report their gender identity. Approximately 11% of LGBTQ adults—1.2 million people—in the U.S. identify as nonbinary. Williams Institute research finds that 1.4% of the nonbinary LGBTQ population, about 16,700 people, are likely to seek passports with an “X” gender marker each year.
Scholars write in support of CBP’s proposed inclusion of a third gender marker on applications to the TTP. They provide legal and social science research to justify the addition and demonstrate its impact on nonbinary LGBTQ adults in the U.S.