Canada is about to allow gender neutral passports

Canada will very soon introduce gender-inclusive passports.

Th new passports will offer a third, unspecified option for those who do not fall into the female or male category.

Currently, the country only allows F or M options on passports, but a proposed bill may change this, creating inclusivity and relieving stress that both transgender and non-binary people face.

The new category will be available from 31 August.

People will then be able to add an “observation” to their passport which will say their sex should be “identified as ‘X’, indicating it is unspecified.”

“By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression,” said immigration, refugees and citizenship minister Ahmed Hussen.

This measure is an interim one, and will be replaced once Canada is able to print X on passports permanently.

Canadians are permitted to change the sex on their passport at any time, but the country hope that the new policy on gender will help broaden the options available to people.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould deemed the move “mindful”, but stressed there was still more to be done to achieve equality.

They said: The prime minister is very mindful of perhaps a third box or an ability to mark something other than male or female. This work is being undertaken at Passport Canada,”

“Individual ministers and (people) within their departments are recognizing that this bill has been introduced, that there is work that needs to continue to be taken,” they added.

The bill, C-16, would update the Canadian Human Rights Act. However, it has faced some opposition and is yet to be passes.

Conservative Senator Don Plett said the third option was not “a workable solution”.

He added: “When you start putting other boxes in, where does that end? How many boxes are we going to put in?”

The country allows foreign visitors to identify as gender-neutral on supporting border documents.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada spokesperson said that the country was also taking steps to allow passport holders to display ‘other’ on their documents.

Australian New Zealand, Nepal and a number of other countries all offers a gender ‘X’ option, or some variation, in addition to ‘male’ and ‘female’ on passports.