Intersex Veteran Denied Passport For Refusing to Choose a Gender
"I am not male, I am not female, I am intersex."
Navy veteran Dana Zzyym, who is intersex, was recently denied a passport from the U.S. Department of State for refusing to select either male or female on their application. Zzyym, who is now suing the Department of State, calls this denial a constitutional violation. They said in a statement:
I am not male, I am not female, I am intersex, and I shouldn’t have to choose a gender marker for my official U.S. identity document that isn’t me.
The Huffington Post article talks about Zzyym’s past and the ways they were forced to conform to a binary in their youth.
Yesterday was Intersex Awareness Day, and incidents like these reveal how overlooked the “I” in LGBTQIA is. We talk a lot about how gender is a construction, but oftentimes fail to mention that sex is also not a binary.
Intersex is more common than many realize, and individuals are often subject to “normalizing” surgeries. Forcing Zzyym to choose a gender is a violent act because it denies them their identity and characterizes it as invalid. Countries like India, Nepal, Malta, Austrailia, and New Zealand allow for a third gender option on their passports, and Zzyym hopes that their actions will lead to a larger change in U.S. policy.
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