In what may turn out to be yet another front of the Trump administration’s war on transgender rights, some transgender U.S. passport holders are claiming that the State Department has denied renewal requests even after the applicants already listed their gender as female on previously approved passports.
Two cases of this happening recently were reported by Them’s Mary Emily O’Hara.
In late June, Danni Askini, executive director of the Seattle-based advocacy group Gender Justice League, tweeted that she had been denied a U.S. passport renewal and was being asked to “prove” her U.S. citizenship, along with providing proof of gender transition. This was despite the fact that for 20 years, she had a passport that said she’s female, O’Hara reported. Askini transitioned in 1998 at the age of 16.
“Make no mistake, this was an intentional action by the State Department to withhold recognizing my gender,” Askini, who said she was fleeing to Sweden due to threats of violence, told O’Hara.
Askini said she was able to obtain a temporary passport and arrived safely in Stockholm.
The second case the report highlights is that of Janus Rose, a technology researcher based in New York.
Rose said she’s had a passport marked with female gender since November. But when she sought a legal name change, the U.S. Passport Office responded by retroactively invalidating the change of gender marker it authorized in 2017.
On July 25, Rose tweeted: “Wow. The U.S. passport office just called and told me that due to an ‘error,’ the government has *retroactively invalidated* the change of gender marker it authorized on my passport last year. They won’t renew my passport w/ correct name & gender until i submit a new doctors note.”
She added: “Essentially the govt is claiming the doctors letter — which uses the same language as hundreds of other letters my clinic gives out to trans patients — doesn’t meet requirements for a passport gender change. I have a feeling we are about to see more of this gatekeeping very soon.”
O’Hara said the State Department did not clarify when asked why an already-approved gender marker would be revoked.
Askini believes she’s being politically targeted.
“I believe that the Trump Administration or someone in the Seattle Passport Office has targeted me politically and politicized the process for obtaining passports,” she told O’Hara. “Their actions and statements are NOT consistent with the actual letter of the code related to trans people.”