From 31 August, Canadian passport holders will have a third option for identifying their gender: “M” for male, “F” for female or “X” for unspecified.
Canadian officials said the change is meant to offer transgender individuals the option to accurately describe their gender identity without being forced to identify as their birth gender.
“All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose,” Canadian Minister of Refugees, Immigration and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen said in a statement published 24 August.
“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.”
The decision makes Canada the ninth country in the world to offer a third category for gender identification on passports, according to the LGBT rights group Lambda Legal.
Other nations that offer their citizens similar options include Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand and Pakistan.
In the United States, all federal forms require citizens to identify either as a man or woman. And of recent, President Trump banned transgender people from joining the military.