Borders Crossed: Third Gender passports aren’t enough

The Canadian government has announced they will now offer Third Gender passports (marked with an “X”) to citizens as of August 31st, 2017. Call me cynical for being unimpressed, but the Canadian government has a long and sordid history of refusing to admit its mistakes, never mind fixing them.

Transgender and non-binary Canadian citizens have been demanding a Third Gender option for years, yet have been denied access to it. The lie told by Trudeau and Harper’s mismanaged regimes was that “it will require an act of parliament to get a Third Gender passport.”

No, it did not. Canada is a signitore to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreement on passports, which guaranteed a Third Gender option, the same one that the UK and Australia abide by in issuing their Third Gender passports. The Canadian government was legally bound to do this, so it didn’t need “parliamentary approval”.

Equally annoying, I doubt that Global Affairs Canada or minister Ahmed Hussen will have the spine or decency to replace currently issued passports at no expense to the holders. Those who have previously asked for a Third Gender passport and were denied are not the ones who failed who live up to their legal obligations. (Yes, I’m being a little self-serving here.)  How else did we get or renew our passports? This was a failure of government to provide what it was already legally bound to do. Citizens should not have to pay to fix the mistakes of government.

Canada advances LGBT equality by offering X gender option on passports

The Canadian government is taking another step in national LGBT progress. Canadians will now have a third option when identifying their gender on their passport.

On August 24, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced the federal government will work towards creating an X option in the sex field on Canadian passports and other documents issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The X option will provide an alternative for those who identify as neither female (F) nor male (M).

Beginning on August 31, IRCC will offer interim measures (until documents can be printed with the X option) to allow individuals to add to their passport that their gender should be identified as X.

The sex field is mandatory for all travel documents according to International Civil Aviation Organization rules.

WHY is gender still placed on passports when it is irrelevant to verifying a person’s identity? The name and photo are all that are required.


  1. anat says

    It will be great if cisgender endosex individuals start applying for Third Gender passports. Make the information useless.

  2. EigenSprocketUK says

    No need for a gender to be part of a passport. We need fewer genders than two.
    I wonder if it is historically tied up in married women having been the man’s possession and given his full name whenever they are addressed together: “Mr John Smith will be travelling in first class with his wife Mrs John Smith”.