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Dana Zzyym Wins Court Victory Over Gender-Neutral Passport

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)- 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.

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Dana Zzyym (credit: CBS)

When applying for a passport Dana could not truthfully check male or female.

"I wrote in 'intersex' where it said sex and didn't do anything for the male or female, if I remember right," Zzzym told CBS4's Rick Sallinger.

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(credit: CBS)

The State Department offered a passport, but only if male or female was checked on the application.

Investigator Rick Sallinger asked, "Why didn't you just you just put down male or female and say 'I want a passport?'"

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CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews Dana Zzyym (credit: CBS)

"Because it's a lie," Zzyym replied.

Rather than be untruthful, Zzyym and Lambda Legal sued in federal court. Zzyym served six years in the U.S. Navy listed as a man. More recently, unable to travel outside the country, Zzyym felt in a way like a prisoner.

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(credit: CBS)

"Well if I'm not allowed to travel being allowed to leave my own country then I am being held here."

Four years later Dana has won noting, "It's the beginning of the federal government recognizing us as human beings in this country."

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(credit: CBS)

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.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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