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Trump administration ordered to reconsider intersex non-binary Navy vet’s request for X gender passport

Lily Wakefield May 14, 2020
Dana Zzyym has been fighting for an X gender passport since 2014.

Dana Zzyym has been fighting for an X gender passport since 2014. (Twitter)

The Trump administration has been ordered by a federal appeals court to reprocess a non-binary, intersex Navy veteran’s application for an X gender passport.

Dana Zzyym is non-binary and intersex and has asked several times for the State Department to issue an X gender passport several times since 2014, reflecting their official birth certificate which is marked “unknown”.

Despite having several letters from doctors stating that they are intersex, the State Department has not acknowledged them as valid. Zzyym filed a lawsuit against the government in 2015 and a federal judge urged the department to reconsider its decision in 2016, but it once again refused.

In 2017, the Colorado federal district court allowed Zzyym to reopen their lawsuit, and the court found in 2018 that the department had exceeded its authority in denying them an X gender passport.

Now, the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, has ordered the administration to reconsider Zzyym’s passport application.

According to NBC News, the appeals court said in its ruling on Tuesday (May 12): “We conclude that the State Department acted within its authority but exercised this authority in an arbitrary and capricious manner.”

Although the ruling means that Zzyym’s application will be reconsidered, it overturns the 2018 ruling that ordered the State Department to provide the passport, thereby creating further delays.

Non-binary intersex vet will not be deterred from getting an accurate passport.

Zzyym said in a statement that although the delay in the approval of their X gender passport was “disappointing”, they are “not deterred”.

“I started the process to get an accurate passport,” they said. “In those five years, I’ve been invited to present at several international conferences on issues confronting intersex individuals.

“I’ve been unable to attend, because I don’t have an accurate passport.

I knew this would be a long battle, and I’m ready to continue the fight.

Lambda Legal counsel Paul D Castillo, who is representing Zzyym, said: “While we may have wanted a more definitive ruling from the Tenth Circuit, the court recognised that treating every applicant as male or female is inconsistent with its own goal to issue an accurate identity document.

“The court wants the State Department — for the third time — to reconsider Dana’s passport application, so we continue our battle.”

Castillo added that it was a positive step for the court to recognise that Zzyym’s passport should reflect their birth certificate.

“The State Department acknowledges that some individuals are born neither male nor female,” he said.

“Forcing these individuals to pick a gender thus injects inaccuracy into the data.

“A chef might label a jar of salt a jar of sugar, but the label does not make the salt any sweeter.

“Nor does requiring intersex people to mark ‘male’ or ‘female’ on an application make the passport any more accurate.”

More: Colorado, Dana Zzyym, intersex, navy veteran, non-binary, State Department, trump administration, US, X gender passport

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