Judge Again Rules Against State Department in Intersex Passport Applicant Case

Dana Zzyym (Photo courtesy of Lambda Legal)

(WB) A federal judge on Thursday denied the State Department’s request to stay his ruling in favor of an intersex person who was denied a passport because they do not identify as male or female.

The State Department had requested Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver to stay his Sept. 19, 2018, ruling against the use of a “binary-only gender marker policy” to deny Dana Zzyym’s request for a passport that listed their sex as “X.” Jackson in an 8-page ruling denied the stay.

Zzyym, who lives in Colorado, is a veteran who served in the U.S. Nacy. Zzyym is also the associate director of the U.S. affiliate of Organization Intersex International.

Zzyym applied for a passport in 2014 in order to attend a conference in Mexico City. The State Department told Zzyym their application was denied because it was “unable to fulfill your request to list your sex as ‘X.’

Jackson ruled in favor of Zzyym in 2016, but the State Department appealed. Zzyym’s case was reopened in 2017 after the State Department once again denied them a passport.

Lambda Legal, who represents Zzyym, in a press release noted Thursday’s ruling is the “third victory in their battle with the State Department to secure an accurate passport.”

“Today, a federal judge has found that there is no defensible reason to delay the issuance of Dana’s passport until after the appeal,” said Lambda Legal Counsel Paul Castillo in the press release. “The court rejected the State Department’s arguments as to security, complexity and cost related to producing an accurate passport for Dana, and instead determined that the harm to Dana of lost travel opportunities outweighed whatever harms the State Department claimed. No law-abiding citizen should be precluded from leaving the country simply because of who they are.”

The Washington Blade has reached out to the State Department for comment.


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