Friday, January 21

United States issues first passport with option to choose gender ‘X’ | International

The White House in the colors of pride, in a file photo.
The White House in the colors of pride, in a file photo.MOLLY RILEY (AFP)

The United States Department of State has announced this Wednesday the issuance of the first passport in which a citizen has marked a box represented with an X to designate their gender, as a third option compared to that of feminine or masculine. Last June, that department announced that it was going to update the options for gender identification and that, in addition, a medical certification would no longer be necessary if the person requesting the passport does not identify with the sex that was granted at birth and which is reflected in their official documents. It is expected that by next year there will be to choose the option of “non-binary”, “intersex” and “gender fluid”.

For the special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQI + rights, Jessica Stern, what happened is “historical”, since it places government documents in line with “the current reality”, in which there is a much broader spectrum of gender identities beyond one of the only two options offered so far. “When a person has documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” said Stern, quoted by the Associated Press agency.

The State Department took the occasion to reiterate its commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity and equality of all people, including LGBTQI + people. The statement from the State Department does not provide the identity of the person in whose name this passport has been issued. An official source, quoted by the same news agency, did not want to confirm if it was Dana Zzyym, a resident of Colorado, who defines herself as “intersex” and who has been fighting a battle with US diplomacy since 2015. Zzyym was denied then a passport for not indicating any of the two options offered in the documentation and writing “X” on the boxes “M” and “F” (male and female).

Zzyym was born with ambiguous sexual physical characteristics, but was raised as a boy and although he underwent several operations, he did not manage to feel completely masculine. When he went to the Army, he did it as a man. But soon after, she began identifying as intersex when she was working and studying at Colorado State University. When his passport was denied, Zzyym intended to travel to Mexico to participate in a meeting of the Organization Intersex International.

The United States joins a very small group of countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and Canada, that allow their citizens to designate another gender, other than male or female, in their passports. Joe Biden, in the White House since last January, has made defending the rights of the LGBTQI + community one of his priorities, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Donald Trump.

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