As reported in a press release yesterday, Lambda Legal has filed a motion to reopen the case of Dana Zzyym, our Associate Director, for non-binary gender recognition on their passport. Zzyym, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them/theirs pronouns, is the first non-binary American to sue for the right to accurate federal gender recognition, and the Court issued its ruling in their favor on November 22, 2016.
The ruling stated that the earlier decision to deny Zzyym an accurate passport without a male or female gender marker was “arbitrary and capricious,” and directed the State Department to reconsider. However, after several months, the State Department issued a second denial last month.
Lambda Legal Counsel Paul Castillo said:
“Several countries issue passports with gender markers other than ‘F’ or ‘M, and just this past month, Oregon officials unanimously voted to allow state residents to select ‘X’ as a gender marker for their drivers’ licenses and state IDs. And it looks like other states will soon follow suit. If Oregon can do it, why can’t the U.S. State Department?”
This is the second time that the State Department’s failure to issue Dana a passport has interfered with Zyzzym’s ability to perform their work as an intersex human rights activist, by preventing them from representing us at the International Intersex Forums, which took place in Mexico (2014) and the Netherlands (2017), respectively. “The State Department’s inaction, and subsequent groundless denial, continues to prevent Dana from traveling and from doing their job as associate director of the Intersex Campaign for Equality and to advocate for the rights of intersex individuals both here and abroad.”
The Department has stated that it will issue Zzyym a passport only if they identify themselves as male or female, which would be biologically inaccurate as they were born intersex, as well as inaccurate because Dana self-identifies as neither a man nor woman, but as non-binary. “The State Department is in effect forcing me to lie about who I am, and I’m not going to do that. No one should be forced to lie about who they are,” Zzyym said.
We’re proud of and grateful to Dana for continuing to fight for what we all deserve: the right to be recognized as who we are!