Starting at the end of the month, Canadians will be able to select a third gender option on their passports: “X.”
The change was championed by immigration minister Ahmed Hussen, who said that the additional option is an “important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression,” according to the CBC. More specifically, the new measure seeks to accommodate transgender citizens, along with those who do not identify as either male or female.
Under the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization, all passport-holders must select a gender field for the documents. The organization now allows for people to choose one of three categories: male, female, and “X.”
According to The New York Times, at least eight other countries allow their citizens to select from all three options: Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan. In the United States, Oregon recently started allowing residents to choose a non-gender-specific designation on their driver’s license. A similar measure has been enacted in Washington, D.C.
While the move in Canada was welcomed by some, others want to see gender markers removed from official documents.
“It’s a step in the right direction but it’s still not acceptable,” Fran Forsberg, the mother of a transgender child, told the CBC. “Putting an X there singles people out as different. There’s no reason to have gender or sexual identity on identification, none whatsoever.”
Read more at the CBC.