Canadians may soon be able to apply for genderless passports, giving hope to transgender travelers who are discriminated against under current laws.
The news was revealed on Tuesday (8 May) by La Presse newspaper after obtaining a briefing note from Passport Canada.
‘Passport Canada policy in relation to the gender indicated on passports is the subject of a review,’ the statement read.
The announcement was confirmed by Passport Canada spokeswoman Beatrice Fenelon, who told the National Post that ‘the policy regarding transgender people is still under review.’
Currently, medical proof of gender-reassignment surgery is necessary to have the gender listed on the passport changed, discriminating against transgender people who cannot afford or do not want the expensive procedure.
Changes to the Aeronautics Act in 2011 also prohibited airlines from seating a passenger if that person ‘does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.’
Australia already allows citizens to mark their gender as X for indertiminate instead of M for male and F for female on passports.
The issue of gender on passports is also being discussed by UK officials, reports the National Post, while both Bangladesh and India already allow hijra, the sub-continent’s third gender caste, to list their gender as ‘other’ and E for eunich respectively on their passport applications.
Transgender rights recently made headlines in Canada and around the world after Miss Universe finalist Jenna Talackova was ousted from the beauty pageant allegedly because she was not registered as female at birth.
She was subsequently allowed to return by organizers following a media storm.