We’ve covered enough “transgender” cases here over the past few years that it’s worth taking note when a legitimate case of gender questions comes to a favorable result in court. This story comes to us from Fort Collins, Colorado, where Navy veteran Dana Zzyym has been locked in a battle with the State Department for years in an attempt to get a passport which identifies neither male nor female in the “gender” column. Unlike most of the previous cases we’ve discussed here, Zzyym actually has a legitimate complaint because he was born intersex, having a genetic anomaly leading to the development of sexual organs for both genders. (Please note that I’m using the male pronoun for Zzyym not as an attempt to make a gender choice for him, but because the alternatives are simply painful linguistically and he previously presented as a male when in the Navy.)
When Zzyym applied for a passport he wrote “intersex” where the gender entry was expected and was subsequently denied. The State Department said if he would just pick one or the other they would issue the passport, but Zzyym refused. On appeal, he prevailed in court and should be getting the desired passport. (CBS Denver)
A 60-year-old has won a federal court victory over wanting a gender-neutral passport.
Dana Zzyym who was born with ambiguous physical sexual characteristics and identifies as non-binary in gender, not as male or female, sued in 2015. Zzyym had requested “X” as a gender marker on a passport application, and it was denied…
Four years later Dana has won noting, “It’s the beginning of the federal government recognizing us as human beings in this country.”
The judge ordered that a passport be issued in Zzyym’s name.
There is no indication yet if the government plans to appeal, if so it is conceivable this case could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
I understand and support the government’s position on accurate identification. And when people suffering from gender dysphoria ask for documentation indicating the gender they “feel like” when they are otherwise physically healthy individuals with an identifiable gender, that’s a problem. But as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, there is a very small percentage of the population who are born intersex. (A condition which used to be referred to as being hermaphroditic.) Traditionally, parents would simply “choose” one gender and raise the child that way, but as adults, there’s no good argument in favor of enforcing that choice if the individual doesn’t agree.
So this is one of those rare cases where being “non-binary” is a scientifically sound fact. And the government should accommodate these individuals as much as is possible. If intersex people choose to pick one gender and go with it, they should obviously be able to get the matching ID. But as in ZZyym’s case, it’s neither medically accurate nor fair to force a label of male or female on him because he’s technically neither.
I’m hoping the government doesn’t appeal this one and take it to the Supreme Course. We have enough on our plates in this debate as it is without trying to deny a passport to someone with Zzyym’s condition.