OII-USA’s New England Director Vickie Boisseau, pictured above with Senator Elizabeth Warren, the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, recently brought the issue of the need for accurate gender recognition of non-binary people to the Senator’s attention. We are strong supporters of everyone’s right to have their gender accurately legally recognized, and thank Boisseau for educating congress members about this issue, particularly on behalf of intersex people, who are subjected to harmful, irreversible cosmetic genital surgeries as infants and minors precisely because of the notion that all humans are male or female–or should be.
We said at the outset of our Associate Director Dana Zzyym’s groundbreaking lawsuit for federal recognition as a non-binary person on their passport, on Intersex Awareness Day 2015, that intersex people must be recognized as citizens under the law in order for the injustices we face to end. In November, 2016, the judge found that the State Department violated federal law in denying a passport to Zzyym, a Navy veteran who is intersex and identifies as non-binary.
The State Department denied Dana’s application because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the form, which does not provide any other gender marker designation.
In his ruling, Judge R. Brooke Jackson stated that he found “no evidence that the Department followed a rational decision-making process in deciding to implement its binary-only gender passport policy,” and ordered the U.S. Passport Agency to reconsider its earlier decision to deny Dana a passport. Now, Lambda Legal is urging the State Department to issue accurate passports for non-binary people, and Boisseau’s efforts educating about the issue are commendable.