Gender Neutral Passports are Finally Here

At Least They are in Select States

United+States+passport+graphic+created+by+Christopher+Elias

United States passport graphic created by Christopher Elias

The third gender option on our passports is finally a reality, one that has been long awaited and much overdue. The first recipient being Dana Zzyym, an intersex military veteran and the associate director of the Intersex Campaign for Equality. Who has been fighting and waiting for this to happen for them since 2015.

The Fight for Their Right

This fight first began back in 2015 when Lambda Legal, a  national civil rights organization, filed a lawsuit on Mx. Zzyym’s behalf. All of this happened in the state of Colorado and against the State Department that denied Zzyym a gender neutral passport. This then led to the 2106 court ruling in Mx. Zzyym’s favor only for nothing to happen. The State Department continued to deny a gender neutral passport causing Lambda Legal to ask for the case to be reopened. Only for a judge to, yet again, rule in favor of Zzyym in 2018. 

The Costly Victory

Mx. Zzyym speaks of how happy and how important this is for not only them but “all intersex and nonconforming people”. The feeling was most present last Wednesday when an envelope arrived at their home while they were out. Only to get home, open it, find a passport, and inside under sex an “X”. Zzyym explains how seeing this for the first time brought up many emotions but most of all relief of finally getting it. However, the years lost because of it or lack thereof are not forgotten. As associate director of the Intersex Campaign for Equality they have lost years of opportunities to attend international intersex conferences. As well as personal dreams of visiting other countries and even a dream of fishing in Costa Rica. However, lost years are now behind them, and will no longer be felt. 

The Future

In their statement released last Wednesday the State Department claims the new gender neutral passports are a, “commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people.” An old policy that required medical proof of sex change that still only allowed for male or female options has now been removed. Colorado has now joined the 20 other states and over a dozen other countries that have had the option for some time. The question now remains, when will the rest of the world catch up?

 

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