U.S. State Department Issues First Official 'X' Gender Passport
The U.S. has issued the first passport with an "X" gender designation as it recognized the rights of people who do not identify as male or female, the State Department announced Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported that Dana Zzyym, an intersex activist from Fort Collins, Colorado, was the first passport recipient with an "X" gender marker.
Zzyym has been in a legal battle with the State Department since 2015. Zzyym was denied a passport for failing to check male or female on an application.
Court documents showed that Zzyym wrote "intersex" above the boxes marked "M" and "F" and requested an "X" gender marker in a separate letter.
The State Department has reportedly said in June that it would update its procedures to allow applicants to self-select their sex marker for passports.
The department noted that it would add a third gender marker for nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people applying for U.S. passports, which means applicants would be able to mark something other than "M" or "F" in the future.
The department also said it would no longer require medical certification if the applicant's self-selected sex marker does not match the gender on other official identity documents.
U.S. State Department Allows 'X' Gender on Passports
According to CNN, State spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that the department was committed to promoting the "freedom, dignity, and equality of all people, including LGBTQI+ persons."
The spokesperson added that the State Department would be able to offer the option with the "X" designation to all passport applicants once it finishes updating its systems and forms in early 2022, NPR reported.
The U.S. joins at least a dozen other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Denmark that offer the same gender-inclusive passport policies.
In the U.S., at least 20 states, including Washington, D.C., have also implemented similar changes to state documentation. New Jersey has enacted the change last April after delaying it last year due to the COVID pandemic.
According to transgender rights activists, the inaccuracy in IDs could potentially lead to discrimination and harassment for members of the LGBTQ community.
'X' Gender Passports Across the World
In a statement recognizing Intersex Awareness Day on Monday, the State Department said the U.S. policy would not only end violence and discrimination based on gender but also on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics.
Jessica Stern, the U.S. special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, said the move brings the government documents in line with the "lived reality" that there's a broader spectrum of human sex characteristics compared to what's reflected in the previous two designations.
Stern said once an individual obtains a document that reflects their true identity, "they live with greater dignity and respect." She noted that her office planned to tackle the U.S. experience with the change in its interactions around the world to help inspire other governments to offer the option.
Stern said they see "this as a way of affirming and uplifting the human rights of trans and intersex and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people everywhere."
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Jess Smith
WATCH: U.S. Issues First Passport With 'X' Gender Marker -From Associated Press
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