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Coloradan receives first passport with an 'X' for gender

Fort Collins resident Dana Zzyym has been fighting for the document since 2015.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — For the first time, the U.S. Department of State has printed an "X" in place of "male" or "female."

The history-making passport belongs to Fort Collins resident Dana Zzyym. 

Zzyym was born with ambiguous genitalia and identifies as intersex. They grew up as a boy and their birth certificate says "sex unknown." Zzyym now has a passport that reflects neither male nor female. 

The passport was hand-delivered to Zzyym's home on Wednesday. 

The document is the end of a journey that has lasted years. In 2014, Zzyym applied for a passport and was denied based on gender. 

In 2015, they filed a lawsuit in court to receive the passport--a document they have never had their entire life. 

RELATED: US issues its 1st passport with 'X' gender marker

"I felt pretty restricted from the time that they denied my passport application. It’s sort of like being in jail but not quite," Zzyym said. 

They received a text from their lawyer early Wednesday morning, stating the passport was on its way. When they received the passport, it was a burst of emotion. 

"That was kind of an awe moment," Zzyym said. "It was a very emotional moment." 

Zzyym hopes it paves the way for younger people who are intersex.

"It will give them a leg up to do that. So that’s what, mainly, what this passport pursuit case is about. That’s why I started it. It wasn’t for me," Zzyym said. 

The Department of State announced in June it was implementing gender-inclusive policies, so it's expected this will be the first of many passports like this. 

Anyone applying for a passport can mark an "X" gender if they identify as non-binary, intersex, or gender non-conforming.

The Department of State is still in the process of updating its system and forms to allow people to mark "X" gender. They expect to have the paperwork updated by early 2022.

RELATED: Colorado to require private health insurance carriers to cover gender-affirming care for transgender patients

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Credit: Angeline McCall

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