DENVER (CBS4) – For the second time, the U.S. State Department has denied a passport to a Colorado resident who does not identify as either male or female and refused to check a box for one of the genders on the passport application form.
Attorneys are asking a federal court to reopen the case so that Dana Zzyym can optain a passport.
Zzyym was born with ambiguous sexual characteristics and sued the state department after being denied a passport.
According to the lawsuit, Zzyym’s parents, in consultation with doctors, decided to raise their child as a boy, who underwent several surgeries that failed to fully make him physically appear male.
Zzyym served in the Navy as a male but later came to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Zzyym applied for a passport after being invited to participate in a 2014 meeting of Organisation Intersex International in Mexico City.
Since 2010, the State Department has allowed transgender people to change their gender designation on passports from male to female or vice versa with a doctor’s certification.
Government lawyers argued that moving beyond two gender choices would upend officials’ ability to verify identities and backgrounds because of reliance on drivers’ licenses and birth certificates issued by states offering only male and female gender options.
A handful of countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Nepal, allow citizens to designate their gender with an “X” or “O” for “other” to accommodate intersex people. Canada has also been considering a third option.