Dana Zzyym, intersex person, can’t be denied passport, judge rules
A federal judge ruled Wednesday the State Department must give a passport to an individual who identifies as neither male or female, saying the agency’s binary classification is irrational.
U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson, an Obama appointee, said Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who identifies as intersex, can no longer be denied a passport.
The veteran had applied for the travel document, but did not choose either “M” for male or “F” for female.
As a result, the passport application was denied, even after the plaintiff provided medical records from doctors certifying the veteran was intersex and does not identify as a man or woman. The agency said it would give the applicant a passport marked “female” since that corresponds with the person’s drivers license.
The department said placing sex classification would “help identify the bearer of the document, and ensure that the passport remains reliable proof of identification.”
Judge Jackson, though, said the applicant met every other requirement for a passport and couldn’t be denied for refusing to specify a sex, and that international standards call for an “X” to be used when a gender isn’t specified.
“I find that requiring an intersex person to misrepresent their sex on this identity document is a perplexing way to serve the department’s goal of accuracy and integrity,” he wrote.
Paul D. Castillo of the pro-LGBTQ group Lambda Legal represented the plaintiff and called on the State Department to promptly turn over a passport to his client with the appropriate “X” marker in the sex field.
“It is well past time for Dana Zzyym and other non-binary citizens of this country to be recognized and respected for who they are, to live openly and authentically, and to be able simply to travel freely about the world,” Mr. Castillo said.
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