The US has released the first passport bearing the gender designation ‘X’, with this option expected to be made more freely available early on next year.
As per a statement issued by Department of State spokesperson Ned Price, this is in keeping with the department continuing to update gender markers policies for passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBAs) so as to ‘better serve all US citizens, regardless of their gender identity’.
Back in June, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced that the department would be updating procedures so that applicants may self-select their gender as ‘M’ or ‘F’ without any need for medical certification.
In a statement written at the time – which also announced the introduction of the ‘X’ marker – Blinken emphasised the importance of ‘our enduring commitment to the LGBTQI+ community today and moving forward’.
Reinforcing this sentiment today, October 27, Price said:
The Department also continues to work closely with other U.S. government agencies to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity.
I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons.
As reported by AP, Jessica Stern, the US special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ+ rights, described this move as being historic and celebratory, going on to assert that this new update aligns government documents more closely with the ‘lived reality’ of a wider spectrum of human sex characteristics other than simply male and female.
When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect.
The department has not identified the person who received the passport. As per AP, an official declined to say whether it was issued to Dana Zzyym, an intersex person from Colorado who has been involved in a legal dispute with the department since 2015.
Zzyym was denied a passport after failing to check male or female on their application. As per court documents, Zzyym wrote ‘intersex’ above the markers for ‘M’ and ‘F’, later requesting an ‘X’ gender marker.
After their passport was denied by the department, Zzyym was prevented from travelling to Mexico for a meeting of Organization Intersex International.
Born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics, Zzyym was raised male and underwent several failed to operations intended to make them appear fully male. After serving in the Navy as a male, Zzyym later began to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers
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