[Ed. – Pity]
Anyone applying for a U.S. visa must declare themselves male or female on their application even if they have been issued a passport with an alternative gender designation, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
The comment came in response to a report in India that a U.S. consulate delayed processing a visa request from a transgender HIV activist, Amruta Alpesh Soni, because her passport lists her gender as “T” for transgender. The marking was introduced in compliance with an April 2014 ruling of the Indian Supreme Court requiring the government to recognize individuals’ self-identified gender and counter discrimination against trans people. This makes India the largest of a growing number of countries that allow people to identify as other than male and female on official documents, including Pakistan, Nepal, Australia, and Denmark, according to Richard Tom Koehler of the organization Transgender Europe.
Soni reportedly told the Times of India that an official at the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Kolkata had said her application was being put “on hold” on Tuesday. She had identified herself as female on the visa application because the only other option was male, and she said the consulate didn’t know how to handle a passport of someone identified as trans.