On Oct. 27, the State Department was expected to issue the first U.S. passport with an "X" gender marker, The Washington Blade reported.
Lambda Legal client Dana Zzyym, an intersex and non-binary U.S. Navy veteran, became the first U.S. citizen to receive the passportthe culmination of their six-year legal battle to get an accurate passport that did not force them to identify as male or female, an organizational press release related.
"I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the 'X' stamped boldly under 'sex,'" Zzyym said. "I'm also ecstatic that other intersex and non-binary 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."
In June, the U.S. State Department announced it would change its policy to add a gender marker on U.S. passports for non-binary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming persons. That announcement came 13 months after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ordered the State Department to reconsider its prior decisions denying Zzyym an accurate passport. In that ruling, the court noted that forcing intersex individuals to pick a male or female gender marker in the passport application "injects inaccuracy into the data."
Zzyym is currently the associate director for the Intersex Campaign for Equality. As part of their work, Dana was invited to attend several international intersex conferences but was unable to attend because they did not have a valid passport.
Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad, said the State Department will begin "offering the 'X' gender marker option to routine passport applicants" in early 2022. A department official said the delay is necessary because the U.S. Office of Management and Budget needs to approve "the required form updates."
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 favorable court rulings, Dana has finally received an accurate U.S. 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."