Task Force commends State Department for new passport standards for gender transition

June 10, 2010

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, June 10 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force commends the State Department for a new policy change that allows transgender people to adjust their passports to reflect their new gender upon certification from their medical doctor that they have received appropriate clinical treatment. Before today, sex reassignment surgery was a prerequisite to making a change of gender on a passport, a requirement that was out-of-date based on current medical and social understandings of gender identity. The new standard recognizes that treatment related to gender identity should be based on what an individual needs. This update also brings passport policies up to par with many other transgender-friendly state policies that apply to driver's licenses and other forms of identification.

This change was advocated for by the National and Lesbian Task Force and a number of other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations, many of which are involved in the New Beginning Initiative (NBI), coordinated by the Task Force. NBI advocates for concrete federal administration policy and regulatory changes directly benefiting LGBT people and eliminating discrimination from federal policies. In particular, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Task Force and the Council for Global Equality advocated for this change, in coalition with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. The change in policy also applies to birth certificates issued by the State Department for U.S. citizens born abroad, known as Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"By issuing this policy change, the State Department has recognized that transgender people need to be able to travel and live with identity documents that accurately reflect who they are. The old policy regularly put transgender people at increased risk for harassment and violence. This update will go a long way to rectify this problem. We thank the State Department for taking this important step, and all the organizations that worked together to advocate for this change."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.