The United States has issued its first U.S. passport with an “X” gender marker, acknowledging the rights of people who do not identify as male or female, the State Department said on Wednesday.
The department said in a statement that it would expand the gender-neutral option to all applicants next year after it updates its policies on passports and U.S. citizenship certificates for children born abroad. It said it was working with other government agencies to “ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders, regardless of their gender identity.”
It did not identify the recipient of the passport, but Lambda Legal, a national civil rights organization, said on Wednesday that the passport had been issued to Dana Zzyym, a military veteran who is intersex.
In 2015, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Colorado against the State Department on Mx. Zzyym’s behalf after Mx. Zzyym was denied a gender-neutral passport.
Mx. Zzyym’s original birth certificate identified them as male, and their drivers’ license listed them as female, according to court documents.
The court ruled in favor of Mx. Zzyym in 2016, but Lambda Legal said in a statement that it asked a federal court to reopen the case because the State Department continued to “refuse to recognize a gender marker that is neither ‘M’ (male) nor ‘F’ (female).”
The State Department said in its statement on Wednesday that the new option was part of a “commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people.”
In June, the Biden administration announced a new rule that created a gender marker on passports and citizenship certificates for people who are nonbinary, intersex, or do not conform to gender roles.
The previous policy for changing a gender marker on a passport required medical certification to be included with the application, which was available only to those who had transitioned from one gender to another. That application is no longer required.
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