UNITED STATES NEWS

United States issues its 1st passport with ‘X’ gender marker

Oct 27, 2021, 7:00 AM | Updated: Oct 28, 2021, 6:19 am
Dana Zzyym poses for a photo, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Fort Collins, Colo. Zzyym, who prefers a...

Dana Zzyym poses for a photo, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Fort Collins, Colo. Zzyym, who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun, told the Associated Press that their passport is the first U.S. passport to be issued with an "X" gender designation, marking a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who do not identify as male or female. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

(AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

DENVER (AP) — The United States has issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation, marking a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who do not identify as male or female, and expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year, the State Department said Wednesday.

The department did not identify the passport recipient, but Dana Zzyym, an intersex activist from Fort Collins, Colorado, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that they received it. Since 2015, Zzyym, who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun, has been in a legal battle with the State Department to obtain a passport that did not require Zzyym to lie about gender by picking either male or female.

Zzyym (pronounced Zimm) picked up the UPS package with the passport after getting an early morning text and phone call from their lawyer, Paul Castillo of Lambda Legal, that it had arrived. Zzyym had stayed up late celebrating Intersex Awareness Day with two visiting activists.

While Zzyym, 63, said it was thrilling to finally get the passport, the goal was to help the next generation of intersex people win recognition as full citizens with rights, rather than travel the globe, Zzyym said.

“I’m not a problem. I’m a human being. That’s the point,” said Zzyym, who has an arm tattoo that reads, “Never give up,” a reminder of goals to accomplish in life.

Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics but was raised as a boy and had several surgeries that failed to make Zzyym appear fully male, according to court filings. Zzyym served in the Navy as a male but later came to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University. The State Department’s denial of Zzyym’s passport prevented Zzyym from being able to go to two Organization Intersex International meetings.

Zzyym would like a chance to travel to another advocacy conference once they resume after the pandemic or perhaps go sea fishing in Costa Rica but, being on a fixed income, says a road trip to Canada for fishing might be more feasible.

Advocates, who praised the work of Zzyym, said the United States’ decision to join over a dozen countries that allow a third-gender option would allow people to travel as their authentic selves and possibly keep them safer doing it.

“Intersex, nonbinary, and transgender people need identity documents that accurately reflect who we are, and having mismatched documents can create problems with safety and visibility,” said Mary Emily O’Hara of GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization,

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

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

The State Department said in June that it was moving toward adding a third gender marker for nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people but that would take time because of required updates to its computer systems. In addition, a department official said the passport application and system update with the “X” designation option still awaited approval from the Office of Management and Budget, which signs off on all government forms.

The department now also allows applicants to self-select their gender as male or female, no longer requiring them to provide medical certification if their gender did not match that listed on their other identification documents.

Stern said her office planned to talk about the U.S. experience with the change in its interactions around the world and hopes that might help inspire other governments to offer the option.

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

___

AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols on the g...
Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing Memphis officers beating a Black man was made public Friday after they were charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
2 days ago
Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
2 days ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
3 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
3 days ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
3 days ago
FILE - An employee works in the battery assembly hall at the BMW Spartanburg plant in Greer, S.C., ...
Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession. Thursday’s estimate from the Commerce Department showed that the nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of economic output — […]
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
United States issues its 1st passport with ‘X’ gender marker