Home Breaking News The United States releases its first passport with a gender indication of ‘X.’

The United States releases its first passport with a gender indication of ‘X.’

by Kingsley Nzeadibe

The moves, according to Jessica Stern, the United States’ special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, are historic and celebratory because they align government documents with the “lived reality” that there is a wider diversity of human sex characteristics than is reflected in the previous two designations.
“A person lives with greater dignity and respect when they acquire identity documents that represent their genuine identity,” Stern added.
The United States has issued its first passport with a “X” gender designation, marking a watershed moment in the recognition and protection of people who don’t identify as male or female, and the State Department expects to be able to offer the option to gender fluid, intersex, and sexual identity people early next year.

The moves, according to Jessica Stern, the United States’ special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, are historic and celebration because they align government documents with the “lived reality” that there is a wider diversity of human sex characteristics than is reflected in the previous two designations.

“A person lives with greater dignity and respect when they get identity documents that represent their genuine identity,” Stern added.

The passport was not issued to anyone, according to the government. A department spokesman refused to reveal if it was for Dana Zzyym, an intersex Colorado resident who has been fighting the agency in court since 2015, claiming that the government doesn’t normally discuss individual passport applications due to privacy concerns.

For neglecting to check male or female on an application, Zzyym (pronounced Zimm) was denied a passport. In a separate letter, Zzyym put “intersex” above the boxes designated “M” and “F” and sought a “X” gender marker instead, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical sexual traits but was raised as a boy and underwent various procedures that failed to make him appear totally masculine. While working and studying at Colorado State University, Zzyym served in the Navy as a male but later came to identify as intersex. Zzyym was unable to attend a meeting of Organization Intersex International in Mexico due to the department’s refusal of his passport.

In June, the State Department indicated that it was working on adding a third gender identifier, but that it would take time because it would involve major computer system modifications. The passport application and system update with the “X” designation option must still be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, which reviews all government documents, before they can be issued, according to a department official.

Applicants can now self-select their gender as male or female, and they are no longer required to obtain medical confirmation if their gender does not match that on their other identifying documents.

The United States has joined a small group of countries that allow citizens to declare a gender other than male or female on their passports, including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Canada.

Stern said her office wanted to speak about the United States’ experience with the change in its global dealings, in the aim of inspiring other governments to do the same.

“We see this as a method of validating and elevating the human rights of trans and intersex individuals globally, as well as gender nonconforming and nonbinary persons,” she said.

You may also like

Leave a Comment