Judge reopens case of Colorado 'intersex'
veteran denied passport
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[June 28, 2017]
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A federal judge on
Tuesday agreed to review the constitutionality of a U.S. State
Department policy of refusing to grant passports to people who identify
as neither male nor female.
In November, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson directed the State
Department to reconsider its "binary-only gender passport policy," in
the case of Navy veteran Dan Zzyym, an “intersex” Colorado resident who
sued the federal government for refusing to issue a passport because it
requires an applicant to denote either male or female gender.
Dana Zzyym is shown in this October 22, 2015 photo in Denver, Colorado,
U.S., in this handout photo released to Reuters on November 22, 2016.
Courtesy of Lambda Legal Defense Fund/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
After conducting its court-ordered review, the State Department
last month again denied Zzyym’s application, according to a
motion filed on the plaintiff's behalf by the Lambda Legal
Defense Fund asking Jackson to reopen the case.
In his original order to the State Department, Jackson declined
to consider constitutional questions raised in Zzyym's lawsuit
unless the issue could not be resolved administratively.
Zzyym, born in 1958, sued in 2015 after being denied a passport
to travel to Mexico for an international conference of intersex
people - those born with anatomies that do not fit the typical
definition of male or female.
The lawsuit claims the State Department's policy violates due
process and equal protections for Zzyym and other intersex
Zzyym was raised as a boy and underwent several irreversible,
painful and medically unnecessary surgeries before joining the
U.S. Navy as a male, according to the lawsuit.
It was only after returning to civilian life after six years in
the military that Zzyym realized there were others who did not
fit into traditional gender categories, the lawsuit says.
The government did not oppose Tuesday's motion by Zzyym and on
Tuesday Jackson agreed to revive the case.
A spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular
Affairs said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Zzyym, associate director for the Intersex Campaign for
Equality, said in a statement that the government “is in effect
forcing me to lie about who I am and I’m not going to do that."
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Steve Gorman
and Bill Trott)
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