The United States has issued its first-ever gender 'X' passport after a Navy veteran has been campaigning for the option since 2015.

The new passports are designed to give nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people a marker other than male or female on their travel document, the US State Department said.

They did not identify the holder of the first gender 'X' passport, but civil rights organisation Lambda Legal confirmed it was their client Dana Zzyym.

Dana, who uses they/them/their pronouns, first asked for the change when they filled out their passport application in 2015 and wrote 'X' on the form instead of ticking either M for male or F for female boxes.

This is what Dana's passport looks like now (



Dana was born with ambiguous sex characteristics and underwent several "irreversible, painful, and medically unnecessary surgeries" after their parents decided to raise them as a boy, Lambda Legal said.

Dana, an intersex activist, served in the US Navy for several years as a young man but became to identify as intersex while working and studying at Colorado State University.

Dana is a US Navy veteran who has been campaigning for this change since 2015

The 63-year-old, from Colorado, sued the state department in 2015, petitioning for a policy that would allow for the introduction of intersex-gendered passports.

Their denial of getting their passport prevented Dana from being able to travel to a meeting of Organization Intersex International in Mexico, sparking the landmark lawsuit.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Dana was the inaugural recipient of the US gender 'X' passport.

Dana Zzyym has become the first person in the US to receive a passport with a gender 'X' marker

In a statement, Dana said: "I almost burst into tears when I opened the envelope, pulled out my new passport, and saw the 'X' stamped boldly under 'sex'.

"It took six years, but to have an accurate passport, one that doesn’t force me to identify as male or female but recognizes I am neither, is liberating."

Dana said in a television interview: "When you're denied the access to go places it feels like a prison.

"I would really like to take a fishing trip down to Costa Rica or Mexico or something ... So that's kind of like my first dream thing."

Dana said to see the 'X' marker on their passport was liberating

It comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in June that the 'X' marker would be offered as an option on passports.

Jessica Stern, the State Department's newly appointed special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights, praised the move as a milestone towards recognising the rights of people who do not identify as male or female.

Jessica said: "When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect."

The move follows other countries including Canada, Germany, Australia and India that already offer a third gender on documents.

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