The U.S. has issued its first passport with an “X” gender marker, which denotes that someone is neither exclusively male nor female, the State Department said Wednesday.
It marks a milestone for nonbinary and intersex Americans, who are estimated to make up 1.2 million and 4 million people, respectively, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law and interACT, an intersex advocacy group. An increasing number of intersex, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people have come out in recent years, but most of them have been unable to obtain IDs that accurately reflect who they are because of a patchwork of state laws.
The State Department said it expects to be able to offer the “X” designation to more people early next year.
The U.S.’s special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, Jessica Stern, said the moves were historic and celebratory, saying they bring the government documents in line with the “lived reality” that there is a wider spectrum of human sex characteristics than is reflected in the previous two designations.
“When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect,” Stern said.
The State Department did not announce to whom the passport was issued. A department official declined to say whether it was for Dana Zzyym, an intersex Colorado resident who has been in a legal battle with the department since 2015, saying it does not usually discuss individual passport applications because of privacy concerns.
Lambda Legal, the LGBTQ nonprofit legal group representing Zzyym, confirmed that its client was the first person to get a passport with an “X.”