Respect for transgender rights broadly and recognition of nonbinary gender specifically have given rise to global legislative and policy-level reforms that purport to rectify discrimination faced by transgender and gender-diverse populations when traveling or migrating. In several countries, for example, the binary options “male” and “female” have been extended to include other possibilities in legal and travel documents, such as X, third gender, indeterminate, and unspecified. Drawing on qualitative data gathered from an online survey conducted over a period of one year, this article homes in on this phenomenon, asking how existing and expanding options for gender in passports could impact transgender and gender-diverse people’s ability to cross international borders. The article’s findings highlight how current border-security structures frequently pose a challenge for those not conforming to gender norms. Our analysis reveals an intricate set of negotiations and tensions, and elucidates the complex dynamics between macro-level practices of power and micro-level articulations of resistance that might interrupt the normative functions of law. This article also shows how existing and alternative options can be taken up in transformative ways that can be used to subvert otherwise restrictive policies. This article is part of the special issue “Media, Migration, and Nationalism” of the journal Global Perspectives, Media and Communication, guest-edited by Koen Leurs and Tomohisa Hirata.

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