US issues first passport with X gender marker to reflect ‘lived reality’ of non-binary Americans
The United States has issued the country’s first-ever passport with an X gender marker, allowing non-binary Americans to “live with greater dignity and respect”.
On Wednesday, the US State Department announced that the first passport with an X gender marker has been issued, but did not confirm to whom because of privacy concerns.
However it was later confirmed that the passport had been issued to intersex Colorado navy veteran Dana Zzyym, who has been fighting since 2015 for a passport that designates them as neither male nor female.
WIN: @StateDept has issued the first passport with a gender neutral “X” marker to our client, Dana Zzyym!
In 2015, Dana was denied a passport application with this marker, and their six-year fight has made this moment possible.https://t.co/qDGK5tmZbh
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) October 27, 2021
Zzyym said in a statement issued by Lambda Legal which had been representing them in their battle: “I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the ‘X’ stamped boldly under ‘sex’.
“I’m also ecstatic that other intersex and non-binary US citizens will soon be able to apply for passports with the correct gender marker.
“It took six years, but to have an accurate passport, one that doesn’t force me to identify as male or female but recognises I am neither, is liberating.”
Lambda Legal counsel Paul D Castillo said: “This is a momentous day and its significance cannot be understated.
“After a six-year legal battle with three favourable court rulings, Dana has finally received an accurate US passport.
“They showed incredible courage and perseverance throughout the case. We couldn’t be more delighted, both for Dana and, as important, for all intersex, non-binary, and gender nonconforming United States’ passport applicants who will soon have access to the accurate passports they need.”
According to CNBC, the State Department said that the option of an X gender marker on passports would be widely available to non-binary, intersex and gender-nonconforming citizens by early 2022.
Jessica Stern, the US special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, explained that the new passports would reflect the “lived reality” these Americans, and said: “When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect…
“We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and non-binary people everywhere,” she added.
The US announced X passport gender markers earlier this year
In June, 2021, the US State Department changed rules to allow trans Americans to self-identify their passport gender markers, while at the same time announcing the imminent rollout of X gender markers.
At the time, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the US would work with “like-minded governments who have undertaken similar changes”, and now the State Department is determined to pay it forward.
Jessica Stern said her office was planning to discuss the country’s experience in making the changes to passport gender markers to help other governments around the world do the same.