A federal judge said a lot of things are changing, gender identification is not as clear as it was in the past, and the State Department needs to catch up with the times – by giving more options for gender identity on passports.
In the first case of its kind, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson has instructed the State Department to issue a “gender neutral” passport to Dana Zzyym, a Colorado Navy veteran who was born a boy but now wishes to be neither male nor female.
In applying for a passport, Zzyym refused to check “male” or “female” on the application, so the passport was refused. Zzyym took it to court, and Judge Jackson has told the State Department if they don’t issue the gender-neutral passport, he might issue an order forcing them to do so.
The government is objecting, as allowing more gender choices for passports will hamper officials’ ability to confirm identities and do background checks, since drivers’ licenses and birth certificates have only male or female options – but that’s coming next.
Last month in Oregon, a judge permitted Jamie Shupe to be legally described as “nonbinary” (neither male nor female), and now Oregon officials are working to get a driver license issued for Shupe with the same designation.
Australia, Nepal and New Zealand all issue non-gender passports upon request, but the U.S. demands those people state whether they are male or female if they apply for a U.S. visa.
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