The United States issued the first passport that does not specify the gender of its holder, bearing an “X” symbol in the gender field, according to the Associated Press on Thursday.
The State Department said in a statement on Wednesday that this option is expected to be more widely available next year.
While the ministry did not name the holder of the first passport of its kind, the Associated Press said it belonged to Dana Zaim, 63, an activist defending the rights of those who do not identify themselves as male or female.
The agency added that Zaim has been calling on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2015 to issue him a passport that does not specify the gender of the holder as male or female.
And it quoted the US special envoy for gay rights, Jessica Stern, as saying that “this decision brings government documents into line with lived reality.
Because there is a wider spectrum of characteristics of the human race than is reflected in the choices of male and female.”
With this move, the United States joins more than a dozen countries that allow a third-sex option in passports, meaning those who do not identify themselves as male or female, according to the agency.
In June, the US State Department said it was moving toward adding a third gender mark in passports.
But that will take time because of the required updates to its computer systems, according to the same source.
An official in the ministry stated at the time that the update of the passport issuance system with the “X” option in the gender field was still awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget, which signs all government forms.