Canadians Can Identify As Gender 'X' On Their Passport But It May Still Cause Issues Abroad

The feds warn that not all countries accept the neutral gender identifier.

A Canadian passport.
Senior Editor

A Canadian passport.

Since 2019, Canadians have been able to identify as gender "X" on their passports. However, the feds continue to warn that doing so could make travelling overseas more complicated.

Several years ago, the federal government made it possible for individuals who do not identify exclusively as female or male to use the gender identifier "X" on their Canadian passport , travel document, citizenship certificate or permanent resident card.

Announcing the change at the time, the feds said that "Canadian citizens and residents deserve to be respected and have the opportunity to live according to their own identity."

Canadians who wanted to replace their documents with the new identifier were able to do so with no fee until June 2020.

It's still possible to update the gender section on your passport now, although it is necessary to complete a completely new passport application and cover the associated costs.

While the "X" gender identifier has been an option for Canadians for several years, the feds continue to warn that using it could make travelling to other countries more complex.

"We can’t guarantee that other countries you visit or travel through will accept the sex or gender identifier on your passport or travel document," reads a message on the Government of Canada website.

Those who do use the non-specific identifier on their passport or travel documents are urged to consult with the local Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate in any countries they are planning to visit or travel through.

"You should also be aware that current systems used by some countries and travel companies may not recognize the X gender identifier," continues the notice.

"You may still be asked to provide your sex/gender information as either male or female when travelling."

It's the same advice that was given back in 2019, when the new option was initially introduced.

Speaking at the time, president of SPECTRUM Kitchener Caitlin Glasson told CBC News that she hoped the Canadian government would be proactive in making diplomatic efforts to communicate the changes.

Right now, the government has a section of its website dedicated to travel advice for LGBTQ2+ Canadians.

It advises those using the neutral identifier to "Check the Travel Advice and Advisory for each destination and transit country to find out if you could face entry restrictions."

If you or someone you know is facing harassment, intimidation or discrimination, refer to these support resources available across Canada . If you need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Support is available.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.