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Sinister passport changes mark latest trans erasure by Trump administration

Ella Braidwood September 14, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

US president Donald Trump. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty)

Trans rights groups have condemned the Trump administration for abruptly removing a page—called “Gender Designation Change”—from a government website.

The Department of State reportedly took down the page, which had been online since 2010, earlier this week.

It replaced it with a page called “Change of Sex Marker,” in a move that has been criticised by trans campaigners.

Trans rights campaigners have criticised the Trump administration for the latest changes. (Mark Wilson/Getty )

In a FAQ on the new webpage, which asked if travel documents can have a non-binary identification marker, a response states: “No, the only sex markers available for a U.S. passport are male and female. ”

However, there is no change to the current passport gender marker policy.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, condemned the changes by the state department.

“While ultimately pointless, this move seems designed to frighten, confuse, and keep transgender people from exercising their full rights under the current policy—the same policy we fought for and won in 2010,” Keisling said.

“Transgender people can and absolutely should continue to update and renew their passports. That is our right and that should always be our right.”

In a statement to the National Center for Transgender Equality, a state department official said: “We want to state unequivocally that there has been no change in policy or in the way we adjudicate passports for transgender applicants. The Department of State is committed to treating all passport applicants with dignity and respect.

“With regard to the web update, we added language to make our use of terms consistent and accurate and to eliminate any confusion customers may have related to the passport application process. We apologize for inadvertently including some language which may be considered offensive and are updating the website to remove it.”

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Trump is trying to ban transgender people from serving in the military. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Trump is currently embroiled in a battle to stop trans people from serving in the army—but two US courts have so far blocked his proposals. 

In July, the Trump administration stoked fear among gay rights activists after it removed LGBT+ information from a government website with no explanation.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deleted several sections explaining that the Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—protects people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping.

Earlier this year, the Health Department removed all mention of lesbian and bisexual women from WomensHealth.gov, which attracts around 700,000 visits per month.

More: Donald Trump, Trans, trans-erasure, Trump, US

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