Colorado Resident Suing Federal Government Over Passport Sex Options
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A Colorado resident is suing the United States federal government after being denied a passport for refusing to identify as either male or female on the application form.
According to The Associated Press, Dana Zzyym of Fort Collins, Colorado, was born with ambiguous sex characteristics—Zzyym identifies as intersex—and is suing the government to allow people to receive their travel documents without picking a gender.
In October 2014, Zzyym was working with the Intersex International organization, and was planning on attending their conference in Mexico City. After applying for a passport, Zzyym’s application was denied and could not attend the event.
The United States currently doesn’t have an option for intersex citizens, but other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Nepal have added ‘X’ or ‘other’ to their passport application forms. There are caveats, though, as Australia requires citizens using the alternative option to present official documentation.
The lawsuit was filed Monday by Lambda Legal, and it names Secretary of State John Kerry as a defendant. The suit states that “requiring people to check a box marked either ‘M’ or ‘F’ is discriminatory and asks people like Zzyym to lie,” according to The AP.
Due to people from other countries being able to enter the United States with a passport that has the ‘X’ or ‘other’ options, Zzyym’s lawyer Paul Castillo claims that it is only fair that Zzyym and other people in the same position have the same right.
Castillo went on to say that an estimated 1.7 percent of the population in the United States is intersex, but many identify as either men or women. Zzyym's birth certificate does not list a gender, and while Zzyym was raised as a boy and served in the United States Navy as a man, Zzyym identifies as intersex.
A spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs told The AP that they would not comment about an ongoing case.
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