'Cruel indifference'

Trans women claim State Department is revoking their passports

Danni Askini. (Twitter/@danniaskini)

They’re messing with the wrong women.

Danni Askini, a prominent Seattle activist and executive director of Gender Justice League, is saying that a simple passport renewal has turned into an ordeal in which she was forced to “provide proof of gender transition”—even though her transition took place 20 years ago and her passports have always identified her as female. “Make no mistake, this was an intentional action by the State Department to withhold recognizing my gender,” she told Them.

The incident is picking up attention after her tweet went viral.

Askini says she was asked to provide proof of transition—as was New York-based Janus Rose, who attempted to renew her passport with a new legal name and was told the change to her gender marker authorized in the previous year was “retroactively invalidated” and that she would need to submit a new doctor’s note.

The official State Department rules for changing gender on a passport involve submitting a new passport photo, an ID “that resembles your current appearance,” proof of legal name change, and “medical certification that indicates you are in the process of or have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality has since issued a statement that the policy has not changed at the State Department, with clear instructions on how to get a passport, recommending carefully adhering to the following instructions: https://transequality.org/know-your-rights/passports and https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/gender.html

As the story on Them notes, however, the Trump administration has so far altered existing transgender-inclusive guidelines at the Department of Education, the Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Census, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Askini was eventually granted a temporary passport and was able to travel to Sweden—where she was taking refuge following  threats from alt-right groups in the Pacific Northwest. In a public Facebook post on July 29, she wrote that her adoption as a minor and associated sealed court documents had complicated her particular case, but added that “as a trans person with a relatively high profile I do have lingering questions about the extent of hoops I am being asked to jump through as well as the cruel indifference with which the current policy is being applied in my case.”

Read the full story at Them.

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