On September 19th, the same day that Federal Judge Jackson ruled in favor of our Associate Director Dana Zzyym receiving their non-binary passport, intersex activist Anunnaki Ray Marquez received his intersex birth certificate in the mail! This makes Colorado the first U.S. state to allow intersex birth certificates, with New York City being the first US city to do so (in December 2016).
Intersex people have suffered being subjected to medically unnecessary, nonconsensual harmful surgeries– aka Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM) –for over half a century due to ignorance about biological sex diversity and a culturally driven perception that all citizens must be male or female. As Marquez relays in his fabulous interview in Them., “I was born in 1967 and put into therapy at three years old. They called me ‘perceptually handicapped’ because I thought I was a boy,” says Marquez. “They didn’t even have the word ‘transgender,’ much less the word ‘intersex.’”
Having government bodies acknowledge our existence as equal citizens is a critical step in ending intersex oppression. For decades intersex activists have been unified around one goal: ending Intersex genital mutilation. The enormous catch-22 we faced is how can you end oppression of a group that society doesn’t even acknowledge exists>?
We thank Anunnaki Ray Marquez for their persistence in fighting for this right, and applaud the state of Colorado for acknowledging that intersex people exist as unique, equal citizens! Another win for our community to celebrate!