In Illinois this week, lawmakers gave initial approval to a measure that would allow transgender people to change the gender listed on their birth certificates, passports, and identification cards. Twelve states have already adopted this measure, all other states have not. The subject is still up for debate in IL, but a decision should be made soon.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality “In June 2010, the State Department announced a new policy to issue passports that reflect a person’s current gender when either a previous passport or other personal documentation presented by an applicant reflects a different gender. Under this policy, a transgender person can obtain a passport reflecting his or her current gender by submitting a certification from a physician confirming that he or she has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. This policy replaces the Department’s old policy, which required documentation of gender completion surgery. In January 2011, the State Department made further improvements to its new policy. Clinical treatment methods are outlined in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care, and treatment can include psychotherapy, changes in gender expression and role, hormone therapy, or surgery, or any combination thereof. No specific treatment is required, and details of your treatment need not be provided. In fact, NCTE encourages you and your provider to only state in the letter that you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. Details about surgery, hormone treatment, or other treatments are unnecessary and not helpful.”
Transgender individuals may get a passport with limited validity reflecting their gender change if they are in the process of changing their gender. A doctors note detailing where they are in the process helps the Passport Agency decide if the person get get a full 10-year passport or if they will be given a limited validity passport until the process is complete. The State Department details application criteria on their website.
One important concept to remember regarding gender identity and gender expression is that gender is expressed on some level by pretty much all of us in our broad society. When gender expression doesn’t conform to societal sex and gender norms is when that antidiscrimination protections for LGBT community become legally very important.
At Swift, we just want to help. In todays world, we are becoming more and more aware that physical traits may not always match one’s perceived gender. We wish you luck, wherever you are in your journey, and are here to provide professional advice in an environment where you can speak freely. We look forward to being a part of your journey!
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.