U.S. Passport Applications To Acknowledge Same-Sex Parents

PassStarting in February, passport applications will start to recognize gay and lesbian families:

The State Department has decided to make U.S. passport application forms "gender neutral" by removing references to mother and father, officials said, in favor of language that describes one's parentage somewhat less tenderly. The change is "in recognition of different types of families," according to a statement issued just before Christmas that drew widespread attention Friday after a Fox News report.

The announcement of the change was buried at the end of a Dec. 22 news release, titled "Consular Report of Birth Abroad Certificate Improvements," that highlighted unrelated security changes.

Sounds like progress to me, but the usual suspects have vocally opposed the changes. Wingnut Tony Perkins said the following in a press release:

"Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an 'improvement' for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth. Yet that is the result of the State Department's decision to remove the words 'mother' and 'father' from Consular Reports of Birth Abroad."

He continued:

"This is clearly designed to advance the causes of same-sex 'marriage' and homosexual parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But it does so at the expense of fundamental biological reality – and social reality as well. The State Department's abolition of motherhood and fatherhood would be almost comical, if it did not fly in the face of the mounting social science evidence that children are most likely to thrive when born into a family led by their own married biological mother and father."


Towleroad News #gay

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Take Two On The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules

Apparently, I’ve got it wrong on passports for transgender people. Geez, I was wrong…what a surprise there! Emoticon: Roling on the floor, laughing

Seriously, my friend Abby, who in the brick-and-mortar world is an attorney, left this comment in the Pam’s House Blend thread for the The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules diary.

Her comment:

I think you are misreading the State Department’s new gender change policy. The policy states:
A full validity U.S. passport will be issued reflecting a new gender upon presentation of the following: A signed original statement, on office letterhead, from the attending medical physician (internist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, urologist or psychiatrist) * * * stating the applicant has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender ….

(Section b(1) and b(1)(g), P. 2, emphasis added). In contrast, a “limited validity,” i.e., two-year, passport is issued when the physician is only able to state that “the applicant is in the process of gender transition to the new gender ….” (Section b(2)(b), P. 3, emphasis added). In other words, the two-year passport is for those who have not yet completed “the appropriate clinical treatment” necessary to obtain a full validity, i.e., standard 10-year, passport. (Of course, it’s important to note that it is between the trans person and her/his physician to determine what treatment is appropriate for her/him to transition, without interference or restriction by the State Department.)

I believe this is how NCTE, which worked closely with the State Department in developing this new policy, interprets it. NCTE’s recommended language for the physician’s statement recognizes this distinction, with the more limited language to be used by those applying only for the two-year passport. Thumbnail Link: NCTE: Understanding the New Passport Gender Change PolicySee NCTE, Understanding the New Passport Gender Change Policy, June 2010, p. 2. NCTE’s explanation also states, “If you are just beginning transition and need to travel abroad, you can obtain a two-year provisional passport.” (p. 1)

Obviously, you’re way beyond the beginning stage of transition and should have no trouble in obtaining a full validity passport showing your correct gender.

And on my Facebook page for the Pam’s House Blend article I wrote, there was this note from Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center For Transgender Equality:

I think there is some confusion about the difference between requirements for full ten year passports and provisional two year passports. Neither type requires “genital surgery.” Ten year passports require a letter saying you have had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.” Technically, the provisional passport is for people who have not completed the aforesaid treatment. However, it is our interpretation that if you and your Dr. believe you have had appropriate treatment for you, even if that does not yet or ever include genital surgery, you qualify for a full ten year passport. I cannot imagine a specific circumstance in which a transperson should apply for a provisional passport.

Egads, I got this wrong. I was in part working off the Time Magazine‘s take on the new passport policy:

For decades, the State Department had required that transgender individuals, who identify with a gender other than their physical sex, have “sexual reassignment surgery” – a term that doesn’t have a clear definition in the medical community – before they were permitted to change their passport listing. Now a note from their physician stating that they have undergone clinical treatment for a “gender transition” will net them a new passport valid for two years. (Regular passports are good for 10.)

Okay, I have to get a new letter written with the phrase “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” in it. Emailed my doc already, and I’ll have my new letter in January. Since it’ll probably take at least that long for my official birth certificate copy to arrive in the mail, getting a new letter won’t be much of a delay, but it has been another hoop to jump through. To quote a phrase I used often in the military: “Life is hard, then I whine.” Emoticon: Tongue out, smiling

So thank you, Abby and Mara — Getting my new passport under the new rules has been quite a learning experience. But, even though this is a difficult slog to get a new passport with a gender identifier that matches my gender identity, I’m quite aware that for many trans people in the United States, a passport may be the only path to getting an identification document with a gender identifier that matches one’s gender identity.

~~~~~

Related:

* The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules

* BREAKING Blend exclusive: State Department issues gender change policy for passport applications

* Foreign Affairs Manual Requirements For Passport Change Of Gender
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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