The last several weeks have seen several significant developments in the area of gender inclusiveness that complicate an already fractious landscape of varied policies and attitudes towards gender nonconformity.
There are many, many forms and documents for which people are asked to declare their gender, among other personal information like race and date of birth. Few are as official and symbolic as one’s passport, and a recent policy change has removed the necessity for passport holders to select one of just two options for gender on this document.
“The Department of State has reached another milestone in our work to better serve all U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender identity,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a State Department press release. “In June, I announced that U.S. passport applicants could self-select their gender and were no longer required to submit any medical documentation, even if their selected gender differed from their other citizenship or identity documents. Starting on April 11, U.S. citizens will be able to select an X as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application, and the option will become available for other forms of documentation next year.”
“Don’t Say Gay” Bill
While national policy has made recent steps towards greater gender inclusiveness, things are different at the state level in some locales. Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently signed into law HB 1557, known to supporters as the Parental Rights in Education bill and to critics as the Don’t Say Gay bill. The law prohibits teaching students about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.
Disney Removes “Boys and Girls” References from Greetings
While the Florida state government moves in one direction with respect to diversity and inclusion, at least one major Florida business is moving in another direction. “In a video conference call recorded by City Journal writer Christopher Rufo, Disney's diversity and inclusion manager Vivian Ware explained that parkgoers will no longer hear "ladies and gentlemen" or ‘boys and girls’ in the park's greetings,” says an article for Fox 13 Tampa.
The examples of the recent policy changes by the State Department, the State of Florida and Disney reflect how complex and dynamic treatment of trans issues are in America. With authority and influence vested across national, state, and local governments and even corporations, treatment of trans issues is experiencing a tremendous push and pull, reflecting the ongoing discourse around the subject throughout the nation.
Actions by organizations like Disney point to the importance to stay on top of issues that impact your key audiences—employees, customers, and other key stakeholders. Inclusion matters.