United States issues 1st passport bearing 'X' gender marker

The United States issued its first passport bearing the "X" gender designation. This is a significant milestone in the recognition and protection of the rights of all people.

United States issues 1st passport bearing 'X' gender marker

The passport recipient was not identified by the department, but Dana Zzyym, Fort Collins, Colorado, said that it was their passport in a telephone interview. Zzym, who prefers a non-sexist pronoun for gender, is in a legal dispute with the government over a passport since 2015.

Zzyym (pronounced Zimm), said that the fight for a passport with a gender-specific designation was aimed at helping the next generation intersex people gain recognition as citizens with full rights.

"I am not a problem. I am a human being. Zzyym stated that this is the point.

Jessica Stern, U.S. special diplomatic representative for LGBTQ rights, stated that the decision aligns government documents with the "lived truth" that there is more diversity in human sex than was reflected in the two previous designations.

Stern stated, "When a person gets identity documents that reflect their true identity they can live with greater dignity & respect."

Zzyym was refused a passport because he failed to verify whether he or she had applied for it. Court documents show that Zzyym wrote "intersex” above the boxes marked "M” and "F", and asked for an "X" gender marker in a separate letter.

Zzyym was born with unclear sexual characteristics. However, he was raised as a boy. Court filings show that Zzyym had multiple surgeries that did not make him fully male. Zzyym was a Navy man, but he later identified as intersex during his time at Colorado State University. Zzyym was denied a passport by the State Department, which prevented him from traveling to Mexico for an Organization Intersex International meeting.

In June, the department stated that it was working towards adding a third gender marker to nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming persons. However this would require time due to required computer system updates. A department official stated that the Office of Management and Budget still needs to approve the passport application and the system update with the "X” designation option. This agency signs off on all government forms.

The department allows applicants to choose their gender, male or female. Applicants no longer need to present medical certification if the gender they are applying for is not listed on any other identification documents.

The United States is joining a few countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Nepal that allow citizens to identify a different gender on passports.

Stern stated that Stern's office would discuss the U.S. experience in dealing with change in international relations and hopes to inspire other governments to do the same.

She stated that she saw this as an opportunity to affirm and promote the human rights of trans, intersex, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people all over the world.