We are thrilled to report that yesterday, October 16, the US State Department hired intersex activist Kimberly Zieselman as senior advisor to Jessica Stern, Special Envoy for LGBTQI+ Human Rights! Zieselman is well known to the community as the former executive director of interACT: Advocates for IntersexYouth, and we congratulate her on her groundbreaking appointment!
A State Department spokesperson told the Washington Blade that: “The Department of State is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of all individuals, including intersex persons, who often face discrimination, harmful medical practices, violence, and social stigma solely based on their sex characteristics.”
Zeiselman noted that the appointment is a milestone.
“As an intersex woman, it’s not only an incredible honor to serve this administration and work with Special Envoy Stern, but my appointment is also a milestone for the intersex community which has been historically marginalized, if not entirely erased across the globe.”
We thank Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden-Harris Administration for their intersex-inclusive human rights efforts! Their actions are a world away from those of the previous Administration and State Department, whom had to be called out for their hypocrisy by Lambda Legal (the US’s larwerst and oldest LGBQI legal organization), in claiming to support the intersex community’s ability to live freely as who we are while at the same time being sued for discrimination for denying intersex Navy Veteran Dana Zzyym, our Associate Director, a passport because they refused to lie on their application and say that they are male or female.
We are proud of Zzyym, our work and Lambda Legal’s in fighting the previous, non-LGBTQIA supporting administration and State Department for intersex-inclusion in order to get us to this point today. Last year, under Blinken’s State Department leadership, Zzyym was finally–after a six year legal battle that beganin 2015–granted the first US passport with an “X” sex/gender marker. This April, the State Department followed up by amended passport regulations to offer the X marker to all citizes. We note that the new X marker–like preexisting M and F markers–represents gender identity as well as sex for some citizens, and is available to all citizens who do not wish to be identified as male or female on their passports.