Americans who do not identify as either a man or a woman would be able to choose a third non-binary gender option on their passport under a bill proposed by a House Democrat on Monday.
The Gender Inclusive Passport Act, introduced by Representative Ro Khanna, would require the State Department to create a gender-neutral option “in a passport, passport card, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and for other purposes.”
“Respecting every American’s gender must extend to travel abroad,” Khanna, a California Democrat, said in a statement. “The freedom to move and express yourself no matter what should be guaranteed in this country. … Everyone in this country should have the freedom to express their preferred gender on passports.”
“This would basically say that self-affirmation is sufficient,” Khanna said. “It’s bringing the United States passport into the 21st century.”
The State Department currently requires passport applicants to select either male or female on their applications. In 2018, the State Department appealed a court ruling in favor of Dana Zzymm, a non-binary individual, who sued the department in 2015 after Zzymm refused to select either the male or female designation and was refused a passport. The department says it opposes the change in part because it would require up to $11 million to change the entire processing system.
Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. currently include a non-binary gender designation on their identification cards. Some major airlines have said they will include a gender-neutral booking option for customers as well.