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Canadians to be able to use ‘x’ option for gender on passports

A Canadian passport.

Sean kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Starting Aug. 31, Canadians can indicate on their passports that they don't identify as either male or female.

It's the latest step in the federal government's plan to eventually allow individuals to identify their sex as 'x' – that is, unspecified – on passports and other government-issued documents that typically allow people to tick only "m" or "f."

Until documents with an 'x' option can be printed, the government will allow people starting next Thursday to add an observation to their passports, stating that their gender should be identified as "x."

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Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says his department will be the first to introduce the interim measure, part of a government-wide initiative to make all government-issued documents gender neutral.

The initiative stems from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise to better reflect the gender diversity of Canadians.

Hussen says all Canadians should be free to "express their gender as they choose."

"By introducing the '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 said in a statement Thursday.

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