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Intersex Colorado Resident Can't Be Denied Passport For Refusing To Select Gender, Federal Judge Rules

Judge acknowledges more than binary.

Intersex Colorado Resident Can't Be Denied Passport For Refusing To Select Gender, Federal Judge Rules
Screenshot Lambada Legal YouTube

On Wednesday a federal judge ruled that an intersex Colorado resident cannot be denied a passport application because of a refusal to select male or female as a gender.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who made the ruling, said the U.S. State Department's reasons for rejecting the application were "arbitrary and capricious."

According to the Denver Post, Dana Zzyym was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics and identifies as nonbinary in gender—not as male or female. Zzyym filed a lawsuit in 2015 after requesting "X" as a gender marker on a passport application and being denied.

During that case the judge ordered the State Department to reconsider but, when 58-year-old Zzyym re-applied, he was denied for the second time.

In this clip from Fox31 Denver, Zzyym speaks about his fight to be truthful on the application:

Some commenters celebrated the win and were ready for change:

Screenshot comment thread The Denver Post

The case sparked some debate among others:

Screenshot comment thread The Denver Post

And some weren't so positive or respectful, as ignorance seemed to reign on Twitter:

In a statement released by the LGBT civil rights organization, Zzyym said:

I'm not going to lie on my passport application, I shouldn't have to, and the judge here, twice, has agreed with me.

Though it is legal for the State Department to reject passport applications if they have a good reason to do so, Jackson didn't think this was one of them.

He said:

. . . adherence to a series of internal policies that do not contemplate the existence of intersex people is not good reason.

Advocates for gender equality hope this limited ruling (it applies only to Zzyym) will pave the way for a more extensive and inclusive list of options for gender categorization on federal identification.

In a written statement, the State Department said it is reviewing the decision and determining how to move forward in tandem with the Department of Justice.

H/T: The Denver Post, Twitter