ENDER ‘X’ : The US Has Issued Its First Passport Offering A Third Gender Designation, ‘X’ For Those Who Identify As Intersex, The State Department Announced Wednesday
n intersex US Navy veteran has become the first recipient of a US passport with its gender marked as ‘X’, for people who don’t identify as male or female.
Dana Zzyym, from Colorado, was identified as the recipient by her law firm Lambda Legal on Wednesday, shortly after the State Department announced the document had been issued.
Zzyym, who uses ‘they/them’ pronouns, first asked for the change while filling out their passport form in 2015, when the 63-year-old declared they were intersex and wrote ‘X’ on the form, instead of checking the M box for male or F box for female.
The momentous modification will become an option for all Americans applying for passports from early 2022.
It comes after the department announced in June that it was changing its gender requirements for the forms to be more inclusive of the LGBT community, after facing backlash from some of its members.
Zzyym sued the state department in 2015, petitioning for a shift in policy that would allow for the introduction of intersex-gendered passports.
Zzyym, an intersex activist and former sailor – as well as the first military veteran in the United States to seek a non-binary passport – was initially denied the identification document during a renewal process in 2015, after failing to check male or female on an application.
According to court documents from the subsequent lawsuit, Zzyym wrote ‘intersex’ above the boxes marked ‘M’ and ‘F’ and requested an ‘X’ gender marker instead in a separate letter.
Zzyym – who uses the gender-neutral pronouns ‘they,’ ‘them’ and ‘their’ – was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics but was raised as a boy, and subsequently underwent several surgeries that failed to make them appear fully male, court filings reveal.
Zzyym served in the Navy for several years as a young man but came to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University.
The department’s denial of Zzyym’s passport prevented the intersex activist from being able to travel to a meeting of Organization Intersex International in Mexico, prompting the landmark federal discrimination lawsuit.
However, on Wednesday morning, the New York-based law firm Lamba Legal revealed on Twitter that Zzyym, their client, was the inaugural recipient of the three-gender passport.
Many consider the move a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who do not identify as male or female. The State Department’s newly appointed special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, was among those praising the passport update.