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Earlier today, Lambda Legal–who are representing our Associate Director Dana Zzyym in their historic U.S. lawsuit for accurate gender recognition on their passport–issued an update in the case titled, “Victory for Intersex Plaintiff”.
From the press release:
“Lambda Legal is urging the State Department to issue accurate passports for non-binary people!
This comes after a judge found that the State Department violated federal law in denying a passport to Lambda Legal client Dana Zzyym, a U.S. citizen and Navy veteran who is intersex.
The State Department denied Dana’s application because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the form, which does not provide any other gender marker designation.
In his ruling, Judge R. Brooke Jackson stated that he found “no evidence that the Department followed a rational decision-making process in deciding to implement its binary-only gender passport policy,” and ordered the U.S. Passport Agency to reconsider its earlier decision to deny Dana a passport.”
We thank Judge R. Brooke Jackson for his just and sound ruling, and Lambda Legal for their brilliance and commitment to pursuing equality for Dana and all non-binary people!
Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul Castillo says, “…we call on the State Department to do the right thing and issue accurate passports that reflect who Dana and all non-binary citizens truly are. Why should Dana – or any non-binary person – be forced to lie about their gender on a passport application when there are other proven solutions already implemented by countries elsewhere?”
As Dana says:
“Today’s decision is great news, but I realize it is the first step in a long battle.
Every day, I am forced to suffer the consequences of decisions made for me as a child. I shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of my government — a government I proudly and willingly served — as well.
It’s a painful hypocrisy that, simply because I refused to lie about my gender on a government document, that the government would ignore who I am. I hope the State Department will do the right thing now.”
We recognize there is more to be done, as Dana notes, but it would be remisss not to note that this is a very positive, historically significant event for intersex and non binary people.
“This is a tremendous victory for Dana Zzyym and other intersex and non-binary citizens, who simply want to be recognized and respected for who they are, to live openly and authentically, and have their government recognize them for who they are.”
–Llambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul Castillo
Dana applied for a passport in 2014, when they were asked to represent OII-USA at the 4th International Intersex Forum in Mexico City by our E.D., who co-organized the 3rd Intersex Forum in Malta but was unable to attend the following year. However, Dana’s application for a passport was denied because they did not list their gender as male or female–even though Dana’s birth certificate lists their sex as “unknown,” and Dana’s doctors with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs confirm their gender as intersex–leading Dana to pursue legal action.
We thank and commend Lambda Legal for their brilliant work on Dana’s case, and are proud to have played a small role in providing documentation and support for it.
We also commend Dana Zzyym for their courage in putting themselves out there so strongly as a #nonbinary #intersex person, and their perseverance in demanding recognition from the Untied States government that intersex people exist! For centuries the U.S. and other nations have tried to force us to live in the shadows, but now they no longer can, and we recognize that this is a critical step in ending the human rights abuses–such as Intersex Genital Mutilation, or IGM (aka nonconsensual “corrective” surgeries)–which intersex people still face in the US.
Thank you Dana! We are incredibly proud to call you our Associate Director, and our friend.
See full press release, with short video of case, here:.
Read the ruling here.
#IntersexEquality #IntersexRights #IntersexAwareness #BornBoth