Tag Archives: National Association for Albinism and Hypopigmentation

Allow Darker Backdrops in US Passport Photos for People With Albinism

Help end the legal discrimination of people with albinism.


My boyfriend has albinism, meaning that his hair and skin are lighter than mine and his vision is significantly worse. Because of his albinism, he was recently denied a U.S. passport. The Bureau of Consular Affairs said his complexion in his passport photo didn’t contrast enough with the required white backdrop. In order to obtain a valid passport photo it was recommended that he wear dark, heavy makeup so that his face would stand out. This may not seem like a big deal, but think about it this way:

A black man wants to go overseas so he applies for his passport, sending in all of the necessary documents along with his photo only to be denied one. “Your face doesn’t contrast enough with the black backdrop,” they explain. “Just buy some pale makeup and get your picture retaken.”

That would be ridiculous, right? This is essentially what happened to my boyfriend this weekend because he was deemed too pale. The same thing happened to his sister a few years ago. She had to retake her passport photo three times before her makeup was dark enough for the state department to be able to authorize her a passport. Last week, Corey put on heavy makeup for his retake, but it might be a couple more tries before the department approves his photo.


A little about albinism.

People with albinism have an absence of pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes. Albinism is an inherited trait, caused by genes that are unable to create melanin. One in 17,000people in the US have some form of albinism. Most people with albinism are visually impaired and have extremely sensitive skin. To learn more about albinism visit Noah: The National Association for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.

This weekend, I will be contacting the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs directly regarding the progress that’s been made on this petition. I plan to pull several of the comments I received from people across the United States who, like Corey, have faced discrimination because of their skin color.

By signing and sharing this petition, you will help in the implementation of an alternative backdrop for passport photos. You will be letting the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs know that they are unintentionally discriminating against Corey and other people with albinism. With dark backdrops, people with albinism won’t have to apply ridiculous amounts of dark makeup in order to get their passports.albinism

Let the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs know that discrimination of any kind is never okay.

I just promoted this petition in order to expand its visibility beyond my social circle. That being said, I cannot thank you all enough for your overwhelming support and eagerness to spread the petition around! If you have any suggestions going forward, please leave a comment below or contact me directly. I’m proud to say that we’ve reached over 1,000 supporters in one week. I hope, that by the end of this month, I’ll have gathered enough signatures to encourage the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs to make an incremental (but crucial) change to their passport policies. Thanks again for your help!

coreycorey colealbinism

How you can help:

Here are a couple links that you can quickly copy and share on your social media:

Allow Darker Backdrops in US Passport Photos for People With Albinism: http://ow.ly/Fy5ay

Promote and Support this Important Petition! http://ow.ly/Fy5u8

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