The State Department says it will no longer require transgender travelers to provide proof of surgery in order to change their stated gender on their U.S. passport. The new policy goes into effect this week.
According to The Associated Press, a transgender person wishing to change their passport will now just have to show a physician’s note that says the applicant has undergone “appropriate clinical treatment” for gender transition.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told AP, that appropriate treatment could mean surgery for some patients but also non-surgical care for others.
Under previous rules, the State Department would only change the sex on a passport if the traveler had completed sexual reassignment surgery.
Keisling said the older policy put some transgender people in jeopardy, particularly when they traveled to countries where changing gender is not an accepted practice, AP reports.