In order to obtain a U.S. passport, you are currently required to list your sex as either male or female. A new lawsuit aims to add a third option to that list, which would mark a major step forward for intersex Americans and others who identify outside of the sex binary.
Lambda Legal filed a suit against the federal government Monday on behalf of Dana Zzyym, an intersex person from Fort Collins, Colo., The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit, which names Secretary of State John Kerry as a defendant, says that the forced identification as either male or female is discriminatory to intersex people—or, people born with gonadal, chromosomal, and/or physical ambiguity that doesn't align with strictly male or female sexual characteristics.
Zzyym—who uses they/them/their pronouns—was assigned male at birth, despite being born with ambiguous genitalia and both testicular and ovarian gonadal tissue. Like many intersex people, Zzyym was forced to undergo surgery at a very young age in order to masculinize their genitalia, the consequences of which they say they continue to "suffer" from to this day.
"When I was a child, I had no say in what was done to me in order to make me 'fit' in some acceptable category," Zzyym says in a statement on the lawsuit. "I continue to suffer the consequences of those decisions today. But, as an adult, I can take a stand. 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."
A spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs declined to comment on the pending litigation, the AP reports.
If Zzyym's lawsuit with Lambda Legal is successful, the U.S. would join a small list of countries that allow residents to obtain legal travel documents without identifying their sex as either male or female. These countries include Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, and Malta.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.