Canada has become the first country in the Americas and the tenth country worldwide to allow its citizens to use an “X” category.
Canada now allows its citizens to identify as gender neutral on their passports, a move that has been welcomed by LGBTQ campaigners.
With this change, Canada joins the list of the countries that provide various third-options, which includes Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland and Nepal.
“All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose,” immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement, reported The Guardian.
“By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression,” he wrote.
LGBT groups appreciated the positive step. “Canada is taking an important and positive first step by acknowledging the challenges faced by non-binary, intersex and trans individuals,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale, a Canadian organisation that promotes LGBT human rights.
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