US allows migrants to pick their gender
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has marked Transgender Day of Visibility by announcing that it will begin accepting “self-identified gender markers” from foreign individuals who seek legal immigration services without requesting supporting documents.
While the only options on existing forms are still ‘male’ and ‘female’, Homeland Security’s legal immigration branch will now allow applicants to select and change their preferred gender at will, according to a policy update alert issued on March 31.
The policy change, effective immediately, states that “benefit requestors may self-select their gender marker (in an initial filing or a subsequent change to a prior gender selection), without the need to provide supporting documentation or to match the gender listed on their identity documents.”
President Joe Biden officially proclaimed March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility in 2021, as part of his wider push for equity and inclusivity. In his 2023 proclamation, Biden stated that “Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul.”
The immigration agency said it removed the documentation requirement in line with “priorities” set by Biden’s executive orders on advancing LGBTQ equality, combating discrimination, and “restoring faith” in American legal immigration systems.
The Citizenship and Immigration Services argued that the requirement to submit proof of gender identity had created extra barriers and delays to travel and employment, and abolishing it will help prevent “discrimination and harassment due to inconsistent identity documents.”
Last year, the US State Department began offering an ‘X’ gender option on passports which stands for those with “unspecified or another gender identity,” without the need to provide any medical documentation to prove that they are neither male nor female.