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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department announced Wednesday that it has issued the first U.S. passport with an "X" gender marker.

Driving the news: The announcement comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in June the department had started plans to add a gender marker for individuals who do not identify as either male or female, according to a state department spokesperson.

  • Blinken said at the time that applicants would no longer need to submit medical certification if their stated gender does not match their other documents.

What they're saying: "The Department also continues to work closely with other U.S. government agencies to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in Wednesday's announcement.

  • "I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons."

What's next: U.S. officials are still "in the process of completing necessary systems and form updates," a spokesperson said.

  • The department will begin offering the new gender marker option to all passport applicants in early 2022.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 3, 2021 - Sports

How race and gender impact sports fandom

Broadcast video (L) compared to animated rendering. Courtesy: SportLogiq

Sports commentary is riddled with unconscious bias, and a new study shows just how drastically race and gender can impact fandom.

The study: Using tracking technology that can capture how players move their limbs, researchers produced two-dimensional renderings to determine what soccer looks like when you can't see who's playing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.