Yesterday the U.S. State Department issued the following statement in conjunction with Intersex Awareness Day:
In recognition of Intersex Awareness Day, the United States State Department stands in solidarity with intersex persons and advocates around the world.
We recognize that intersex persons face violence, discrimination, harassment, and persecution on account to their sex characteristics. At a young age, intersex persons routinely face forced medical surgeries without free or informed consent. These interventions jeopardize their physical integrity and ability to live freely.
On Intersex Awareness Day, we reaffirm our strong commitment to promoting a world where all persons can freely and equally express themselves with dignity, regardless of sex characteristics. When those most marginalized in society are afforded equal protection and opportunity, global security and stability are strengthened. Increased recognition, understanding and awareness of intersex persons and their human rights strengthens democracy for all.
While we appreciate the sentiment, as outlined in this article ,it seems rather disingenuous given that at this very moment they are denying our associate director Dana Zzyym (who uses they/them/their pronouns) a passport unless they lie and say they are male or female. Zzyym filed a lawsuit against the State Department with their legal representative Lambda Legal on Intersex Awareness Day 2015 because the State Department refused to grant them a passport which accurately identifies their sex (sometimes referred to as “gender”) male nor female, or their gender as man nor woman, but non-binary.
Dana is a Navy Vet who fought six tours of duty in Beirut for this country, so it is particularly egregious that they should now be denied their constitutional right to leave and re-enter it just because they refuse to identify their gender within the binary model of sex and gender which excludes intersex and non-binary people.
We ask the State Department to honor their word by issuing Zzyym a passport immediately!
If you use twitter we also encourage you to tweet to the State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, @statedeptvox, and ask that the State Department honor it’s word and support intersex people by issuing Dana a passport. After all, how can we expect efforts to make intersex babies male or female to end when we won’t allow an intersex adult to be recognized as neither male or female?