TheHill reports Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would add a third gender designation to U.S. passport applications.
The bill instructs the State Department to “require the inclusion of a gender neutral designation in a passport, passport card, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and for other purposes.”
The current U.S. passport application only has male and female gender options, forcing those with non-binary gender identities to choose one of the two, typically their gender assigned at birth.
“Respecting every American’s gender must extend to travel abroad,” Khanna said in a press 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.”
In the past, passport applications have been denied if applicants marked an “X” instead of choosing a male or female gender distinction. In 2018, a judge ruled in favor of Dana Zzyym in a lawsuit filed against the State Department after their passport application was denied for refusing to choose between a male or female gender distinction. However, the State Department continues to file appeals, dragging the case that was first filed in 2015.
In the past decade, 15 states and the District of Columbia have begun offering non-binary gender designations on identification cards.
“Without a doubt, we have further to go to achieve full equality for LGBT(Q) individuals,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ind.), vice-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and member of the Transgender Equality Task Force, “but each act of openness and acceptance is an important step towards true equality for everyone.”
Khanna’s bill, dubbed the Gender Inclusive Passport Act, has not yet been assigned to a House committee.