Last Intersex Awareness Day, 2015, our Associate Director Dana Zzyym, who uses they/them/their pronouns, and Lambda Legal, the country’s largest, oldest LGBT civil rights organization, announced that they were suing the U.S. Department of State for denying Zzyym a passport that accurately reflects their sex and gender.
Today, Lambda Legal staff attorneys urged the U.S. District Court in Colorado to deny the federal government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, stating:
The U.S. State Department’s flimsy, after-the-fact explanations for denying Dana an accurate passport defy logic, perpetuate stigma and present Dana with an outrageous choice – lie on the passport application or never leave the country. Not only is “intersex” an accurate description of Dana’s gender, but ignoring reality doesn’t make the male-or-female-only passport policy any less discriminatory.
The Department’s arguments in defense of denying Dana a passport – that their application was incomplete because they wrote “intersex” rather than checking “M” or “F,” and that officials couldn’t be sure of Dana’s identity unless they indicated a binary marker – don’t withstand scrutiny. Dana’s birth certificate lists their gender as “unknown,” doctors have confirmed Dana’s gender as intersex and, quite tellingly, the United States admits visitors with “X” or other nonbinary gender markers on their passports from countries that provide for that option. Nothing in the State Department’s brief contravenes the essential fact here: Dana is being deprived of the right to lawfully travel to and from the United States because of personal characteristics, and that’s discrimination, pure and simple. (http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20160422_us-state-department-absurd).
We thank and commend Lambda Legal for demanding justice for Dana, and for recognizing that people who are neither male nor female should have the equal legal right to have their gender accurately represented!