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The United States Department of State a new passport with the gender marker “X.” The new gender-neutral passport marks a milestone for 1.2 to 4 million Americans who identify as non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming.
The state department did not identify the initial recipient, but Dana Zzyym later disclosed that they received the passport. Zzyym (pronounced Zimm) uses gender-neutral pronouns has been in a legal battle since 2015 to receive an updated passport.
“I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the ‘X’ stamped boldly under ‘sex.'” Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical, sexual characteristics but was raised socially as a boy.
Zzyym began to openly identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University. “I’m also ecstatic that other intersex and nonbinary U.S. 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 recognizes I am neither, is liberating.”
Jessica Stern of the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons, and Special Envoy said this decision brings the government documents words the “lived reality” that a broader spectrum of human sex characteristics exists and than what is reflected by the previous two designations.
The State Department now allows the process for applications for individuals to self-select their gender. Passport applications no longer require people to provide medical certification if their gender does not match their state identification information.
Stern plans to discuss the United States’ experience in the change during interactions around the globe. She hopes that it may change the minds of other world leaders, and they will offer the option to its citizens. “We see this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere,” she said.
Written by Skye Leon
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
AP: United States issues its 1st passport with ‘X’ gender marker
NBC: U.S. issues its 1st passport with ‘X’ gender marker
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