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The United States issues its first gender-marked “X” passport.

DENVER – The United States has issued its first gender-X passport – a milestone in recognizing the rights of people who do not identify as male or female – and hopes to be able to offer such an opportunity to non-binary, the State Department said Wednesday that intersex and gender non-conforming people early next year.

US Special Envoy for LGBTQ Rights Jessica Stern called the moves historic and celebratory, saying they align government documents with the “living reality” that there is a broader spectrum of human sex characteristics than the previous two naming conventions.

“When a person receives identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with great dignity and respect,” Stern said.

The department did not say to whom the passport was issued. A department spokesman declined to say whether the case was with Dana Zim, an intersex Colorado resident who has been in litigation with the department since 2015, saying the department does not usually discuss individual passport applications due to confidentiality concerns.

Zzyym (pronounced Zimm) was denied a passport because he did not verify the man or woman on the application. According to court documents, Zzym wrote “intersex” over the fields marked “M” and “F” and asked for the gender marker “X” to be placed in a separate letter instead.

Zzyim was born with ambiguous physical sexes, but grew up as a boy and underwent several surgeries that prevented Zzyim from becoming fully male, according to court documents. Zzym served in the Navy as a man, but later identified as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University. The department’s refusal to issue Zzyima’s passport prevented Zzyma from traveling to an Intersex International meeting in Mexico.

In June, the State Department announced that it was moving towards adding a third gender marker, but said it would take time because it would require extensive updates to its computer systems. An agency spokesman said the passport application and system update with the ‘X’ designation option still needs to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, which approves all government forms before they can be issued.

The department now also allows applicants to self-select their gender as male or female, no longer requiring them to provide medical certificates if their gender does not match the gender on other identity documents.

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