Hat tip for this story goes to CNSNews.com (Original story at http://cnsnews.com/news/article/state-department-will-issue-female-passports-anatomical-males). I highly recommend you read the original article to get the full story.
To sum up, the Department of State previously issued passports reflecting applicants’ “new” status as male or female after gender reassignment surgery. After a policy change in 2010, the Department updated guidance to officers adjudicating passport applications with the directive that “[s]exual reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite for passport issuance” in an individual’s preferred gender. (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/06/142922.htm)
This may compel one to ask: Who gave State the idea that a person can choose their gender? For this, they relied on the guidance published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, http://www.wpath.org), which is recognized by the American Medical Association as being the leading authority in this field. In essence, the Department has delegated rule-making authority to a privately run, single issue advocacy organization.
And according to WPATH, what evidence should be required to demonstrate that one has assumed a new gender? A note from a physician confirming the applicant’s new gender identity.
I suspect many who come across my blog may have substantive objections to the notion that a person can select their gender. I have a broader concern. The Department, by means of an agency-level order not subjected to legislative review, has created a legal right that is relatively novel in U.S. federal policy, which is the right to be treated as being whichever gender one selects. It will be interesting to see what kind of problems this will create for Consular Officers overseas. Will the Department’s officers also be expected to protest if host countries decline to recognize the chosen genders of such citizens?
There is another interesting question on the domestic policy front. If an applicant of draft age with female anatomy has declared themselves to be a male, will they eventually be required to register with Selective Service prior to procuring federal benefits? If we are going to start placing volunteers with female anatomy into combat arms formations, it would only seem fair that those citizens who choose to be “males” bear the same theoretical risk of involuntary conscription that the rest of us able-bodied men face.
P.S.: There is also an ongoing Free Republic discussion of the CNSNews article at: http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2995930/posts