DENVER (AP) — The United States has issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation — a milestone in recognition of the rights of people who don’t identify as male or female — and expects to be able to offer the option to nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people early, the State Department said Wednesday.
The U.S.’ special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, called the moves historic and celebratory,they bring the government documents in line with the “lived reality” that there is a broader spectrum of human sex characteristics than the previous two designations.
“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, theywith greater dignity and respect,” Stern said.
The department did not announce to whom the passport was issued. A department official declined to say whether it was for Dana Zzyym, an intersex Colorado resident in a legal battle with the department since 2015, saying the department does not usually.
Zzyym (pronounced Zimm) was denied a passport for failing to check male or female on an application. According to court documents, Zzyym wrote “intersex” above the boxes marked “M” and “F” and requested an “X” gender marker instead in a separate letter.
Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical and sexual characteristics but was raised as a boy and underwent several surgeries that failed to make Zzyym appear entirely male, according to. Zzyym served in the Navy as a male but later came to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado . The department’s denial of Zzyym’s passport prevented Zzyym from in Mexico.
The State Department announced in June that it was moving toward adding a third gender marker but said it would taketo its computer systems. A department official said the passport application and system update with the “X” designation option still need to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, which forms before they can be issued.
The department now allows applicants to self-select their gender as male or female, no longer requiring them tocertification if their gender does not match that listed on their other identification documents.
Thejoins a handful of countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and Canada, in allowing its citizens to designate a gender other than male or female on their passports.
Stern said her office planned to talk about the U.S.′ experience with the change in its interactions worldwide, and she hopes that might help inspire other governments to.
“We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights ofeverywhere,” she said.