On June 9th the U.S. State Department announced new guidelines for issuing passports to transgender people. What does this mean for transgender youth?
The new guidelines are a huge win for transgender students who have historically had difficulty accessing identification that reflects their gender, such as a driver's license or school ID card. The new guidelines no longer require people to undergo gender reassignment surgery to change the gender marker on their passport.
The new language only requires a physician to certify that a person has received "appropriate clinical treatment."
For transgender youth under 18, current guidelines in the United States make access to gender reassignment surgery very difficult to obtain. Because of this fact, many transgender youth are unable to change the gender marker on their state issued ID's or birth certificate.
The new change will mean that, for as little as $35, young people can obtain a passport card, a photo ID that is valid both in the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The rules also apply to more expensive passport books that are used for travel outside of North America.