Two Trans Women Say the the U.S. State Department Has Retroactively Invalidated Their Passports
Two trans women named Danni Askini and Janus Rose have recently had difficulty renewing their passports and suspect that the U.S. State Department is retroactively revoking them, requiring further proof of their trans identity even though they’ve gotten their passports without any problems in the past. Why were these trans women’s passports revoked? The reason isn’t yet clear.
Askini’s identifying documents have declared her female gender since 1998 when she began transitioning at the age of 16. She sought to renew her passport so she could travel to Sweden after facing increasing death threats from the alt-right and anti-trans groups in the Pacific Northwest.
But when she went to renew her passport on June 29, Askini says the passport office told her she “would need to get a judge to unseal child welfare records from foster care in order to ‘prove’ [her] U.S. citizenship.”
“Despite having had all ‘female’ ID since 1999,” Askini wrote in a tweet, “they are now demanding ‘proof of transition’ for the 1st time.”
Similarly, Rose says she had a passport listing her female gender since this past November. But when she sent in paperwork to have a new passport issued to reflect her recent legal name change, she was informed that the U.S. government had “retroactively invalidated” her passport’s gender in “error,” and wouldn’t be able to renew it until she submits a new doctor’s note.
Her doctor’s office, which issued a similar letter in 2017 to help Rose get her gender marker on her passport changed, says it has never been asked for additional documentation and has never heard of a trans person’s gender marker being rejected by a passport office.
While the U.S. government doesn’t require trans people to undergo surgery in order to change their gender marker on U.S. passports, it does require “certification from a medical physician stating that the applicant has undergone or is receiving appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.”
The U.S. State Department hasn’t responded to inquiries asking whether an internal policy change is responsible for these trans women’s passports being revoked. Both women feel as if an anti-trans policy change may be to blame, something that would make sense considering U.S. President Donald Trump’s numerous policies targeting trans Americans.
Askini has since gotten a temporary two-year passport after Congressional Representative Pramila Jayapal put pressure on the passport office to grant Askini a passport.
The National Center for Transgender Equality recently released a statement reiterating that “the longstanding passport gender marker policy has not changed,” and adding, “We are closely monitoring the issue and are vigilant for any attack on the rights of our community.”