WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced her barrier-breaking legislation, the Gender Inclusive Passport Act, which would create a gender inclusive third “(X) Unspecified” marker on federal passports and passport cards. The new legislation would require the U.S. State Department to create an additional third sex marker category for U.S. passports, passport cards, or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, that provides an option for applicants whose genders are neither male nor female. The Gender Inclusive Passport Act would eliminate barriers to gender-diverse applicants and ensure that all American citizens have access to government identification documents that match their gender identity.
“Adding an unspecified gender marker to passports is more than just a box — it’s equality,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I believe it’s time for our country to allow all citizens to correctly identify themselves on their passport and this bill will help us eliminate barriers that LGBTQ+ people have encountered for years. I’m proud to lead the Gender Inclusive Passport Act in the Senate so that everyone, no matter their gender identity, has identification to match who they are.”
Several states and cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City have already moved to offer an “X” marker on driver’s licenses or birth certificates. The newly announced Gender Inclusive Passport Act would build on this momentum to offer a federal solution to inclusive identification. In addition to requiring the State Department to create an “(X) Unspecified” gender category on U.S. passports, passport cards, or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, the Gender Inclusive Passport Act would by implement the self-attestation standard for applicants to update the sex marker on their passport. The self-attestation standard ensures that applicants do not have to undertake a burdensome or costly process to obtain a signed affidavit from a physician in order to update the sex marker on their passport. The bill also does not mandate that Americans identifying outside of “male” or “female” on preexisting documents list a corresponding “X” on their passport.
The Gender Inclusive Passport Act is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Bernard Sanders (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) introduced the House companion on February 25, 2020. The legislation has been endorsed by many leading LGBTQ advocacy organizations including Lamda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign, and Human Rights Watch.
The full text of the legislation may be found here.