History was made in the USA yesterday, October 27, when Dana Zzyym was issued the States’ first passport with an ‘X’ gender marker instead of the traditional ‘F’ or ‘M’.
Zzyym, a Colorado resident who identifies as intersex, began a legal battle against the State Department in 2015 when they were denied a passport because they would not label themself as male or female. Instead, Zzyym opted to write “intersex” above the ‘F’ and ‘M’ checkboxes.
Unfortunately, Zzyym, who is the associate director for the Intersex Campaign for Equality, was unable to travel to Mexico for a meeting of Organization Intersex International because their passport application was denied.
— NO PERSU ???? (@NoPersu) October 27, 2021
But today, Zzyym is thrilled that the State can now accommodate all gender identities.
“I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the ‘X’ stamped boldly under ‘sex,’” they said in a statement.
“I’m also ecstatic that other intersex and non-binary US citizens will soon be able to apply for passports with the correct gender marker.”
It is expected that the USA will be widely able to offer the same ‘X’ marker option to any non-binary, intersex and/or gender-nonconforming American seeking a passport that matches their gender identity from early 2022.
“We look forward to offering this option to all routine passport applicants once we complete the required system and form updates,” said Ned Price, a State Department spokesperson, in a statement, pointing out that the development would take some time.
“The Department also continues to work closely with other US government agencies to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity. I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons.”
WIN: @StateDept has issued the first passport with a gender neutral “X” marker to our client, Dana Zzyym!
In 2015, Dana was denied a passport application with this marker, and their six-year fight has made this moment possible.https://t.co/qDGK5tmZbh
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) October 27, 2021
“It took six years,” Zzyym goes on to say, “but to have an accurate passport, one that doesn’t force me to identify as male or female but recognises I am neither, is liberating.”
This milestone in gender recognition puts the USA on par with at least 15 other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Canada, where they already offer the ‘X’ marker on passports.
“I’ve been at this fight for more than a decade,” Zzyym said. “But, with the incredible support and work of Lambda Legal and the Intersex Campaign for Equality, I have a passport that reflects who I truly am; and that will allow for me to attend international conferences in person to continue fighting for the rights of intersex people.”
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