DENVER (AP) — The United States has issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation, marking a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who do not identify as male or female, and expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year, the State Department said Wednesday.
The department did not identify the passport recipient, but Dana Zzyym, an intersex activist from Fort Collins, Colorado, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that they received it. Since 2015, Zzyym, who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun, has been in a legal battle with the State Department to obtain a passport that did not require Zzyym to lie about gender by picking either male or female.
Zzyym (pronounced Zimm) picked up the UPS package with the passport after getting an early morning text and phone call from their lawyer, Paul Castillo of Lambda Legal, that it had arrived. Zzyym had stayed up late celebrating Intersex Awareness Day with two visiting activists.
While Zzyym, 63, said it was thrilling to finally get the passport, the goal was to help the next generation of intersex people win recognition as full citizens with rights, rather than travel the globe, Zzyym said.
“I’m not a problem. I’m a human being. That’s the point,” said Zzyym, who has an arm tattoo that reads, “Never give up,” a reminder of goals to accomplish in life.
Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics but was raised as a boy and had several surgeries that failed to make Zzyym appear fully male, acco