US issues first gender-neutral ‘X’ passport

The official document features an “X” gender designation.

Dana Zzyym, of Fort Collins, Colorado, told the Associated Press it was their passport and they have been in a battle with the government over the issue since 2015.

Zzyym, who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun, said it was thrilling to finally get the passport but the fight for a passport with an accurate gender designation was a way to help the next generation of intersex people win recognition as full citizens with rights.

Dana Zzyym prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Pic: AP© Associated Press Dana Zzyym prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Pic: AP

“I’m not a problem. I’m a human being. That’s the point,” the 63-year-old said.

The US special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, said the decision brings passports in line with the “lived reality” that there is a wider spectrum of human sex characteristics than the previous two designations reflected.

“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” Ms Stern said.

Zzyym was previously denied a passport after failing to check male or female on an application.

According to court documents, they wrote “intersex” above the boxes marked “M” and “F” and requested an “X” instead in a separate letter.

Zzyymm was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics. They were raised as a boy and had several surgeries that failed to make them appear fully male, according to court filings.

They served as a male in the Navy but later identified as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University.

The State Department’s denial of their passport prevented them from travelling to a meeting of Organisation Intersex International in Mexico.

In June, the department said it was moving towards adding a third gender marker for non-binary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people. But it said the move would take time because of required updates to its computer systems.

Applicants will also now be able to self-select their gender as male or female, meaning they will no longer be required to provide medical certification if their gender did not match that listed on other identification documents.

“We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere,” Ms Stern said.


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