Where we stand: A letter from the editor

This post I put up on Monday has gotten a lot of traction. As of Tuesday afternoon, it has been read almost 400 times and has reached more 2,300 people on Facebook. It maybe the most popular post ever on the Eagle. The reason is both good and bad. First, it’s about a first for an event that is one of the largest primarily LGBTQ events held in Chicago.

Dana Zzyym

Lambda Legal calls on court to affirm ruling for non-binary veteran seeking passport

DENVER — Lambda Legal filed a brief in the U.S. Appeals Court for the Tenth District to uphold a lower court’s ruling for the U.S. State Department to issue an accurate passport to a non-binary veteran. Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who is intersex and nonbinary and does not identify as male or female, was denied a pass port because they couldn’t accurately choose male or female on the passport application. The form didn’t provide any other options. Lambda Legal said in a press release that Zzyym was one of the first Colorado residents to get a driver’s license with a gender neutral marker. “It makes no sense that the State Department would insist that a passport applicant be untruthful, much less deny a vital travel and identity document solely based on an applicant’s gender,” Lambda Legal Counsel Paul Castillo said.

Intersex justice activists call on hospitals to stop unnecessary surgeries on infants

By Michelle Zacarias

CHICAGO—Intersex activists and allies gathered last week outside of the Marriott Marquis hotel to protest the continued performance of medically unnecessary genital “normalizing” surgery on intersex infants. The demonstration was coordinated by Pidgeon Pagonis and Saifa Wall, co-founders of the Intersex Justice Project (IJP). The action targeted the Societies for Pediatric Urology, which held its annual meeting here last Friday. The Chicago-based protest is one of many growing conversations around the country regarding the ethics of intersex healthcare. Many advocates have condemned the surgeries being performed on intersex youths, which are often framed as “necessary” but cause irreversible bodily damage.

Ban on intersex surgery on minors submitted in Iowa

DES MOINES — A bill to ban surgery on medically unnecessary surgeries for intersex minors was filed in the Iowa Legislature on Monday, March 4. One Iowa, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, said it was the first time such a bill has been introduced and one of only a few nationwide. The bill, HF 576, was submitted by State Rep. Liz Bennett. “Thank you, Rep. Liz Bennett, for working with One Iowa Action staff to draft and introduce this groundbreaking piece of legislation,” said One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel in a statement. “Doctors in the United States, including in Iowa, continue to perform medically unnecessary surgeries that can inflict permanent physical and psychological harm on intersex children according to a 2017 report from Human Rights Watch and interACT.

UofI LGBT Resource Center looking for research study participants

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois LGBT Resource center announced a search for research study participants on Friday. From their Facebook post:

SEEKING PARTICIPANTS FOR A RESEARCH STUDY

The purpose of this research study is to assess emerging issues confronting Black/African American intersex people with medical professionals. To participate in this research, you must:
• Be intersex
• Be Black/African American
• Be 18 years old or older

Participation in this study involves:
• Up to 2 interviews by video chat, phone or in person
• Each interview will last 30-60 minutes

To find out more information about this study,
please contact Alishia Alexander at:
• Phone: **Please contact the LGBTRC Staff if you would like this researcher’s contact number**
• Email: alishia2@illinois.edu

Court denies stay; State Department must issue accurate passport to nonbinary intersex citizen

DENVER – A U.S. District Court Judge on Thursday denied a U.S. State Department request to stay his September, 2018 order which prohibited the agency from relying upon its binary-only gender marker policy to withhold an accurate passport from Lambda Legal client Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who is intersex and nonbinary, and does not identify as male or female. The State Department denied Dana’s passport application because Dana could not accurately choose either male or female on the passport application form, and the form does not provide any other gender marker designation. In November 2018, Dana was among the first Coloradans to obtain a driver’s license with a nonbinary “X” gender marker after the State of Colorado changed its policy in response to Dana’s federal lawsuit against the U.S. State Department. This represents Dana’s third victory in their battle with the State Department to secure an accurate passport. In November, 2016, the same district court found the State Department had violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act and ordered the department to reconsider its binary-only gender policy.

Rally in support of transgender, intersex community in Normal

NORMAL — The transgender and intersex communities of Normal came out with their allies on Tuesday to protest the recent proposed anti-transgender policy proposed by the Trump administration with the Gender Spectrum Rally: Our Future. The policy proposed Department of Health and Human Services would create a legal definition of gender that would exclude transgender and intersex people from consideration by the government. The rally was the latest of a number of rallies held in central Illinois, following ones in Decatur the day before and nearby Bloomington last week. B’N Trans Community, one of the organizing groups, said about 60 people attended. The rally was endorsed by a number of organizations from the Bloomington/Normal area and across Central Illinois:

FIST BloNo
PFLAG Bloomington/Normal
IWU Pride Alliance
Central Illinois PRIDE Health Center
Bloomington-Normal Democratic Socialists of America
College Democrats at Illinois State University
ISU Pride
ACLU of Central Illinois
Prairie Pride Coalition
ISU YDSA

(Editor’s note: The Illinois Eagle also endorsed the rally.)

Photos courtesy of Jamie Scoval

Intersex-affirming hospital policy guide published

NEW YORK — Friday, October 26 marks Intersex Awareness Day. interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, Lambda Legal, and Proskauer Rose LLP have recently released the nation’s first intersex-affirming hospital policy guide, offering concrete steps for medical providers to provide sensitive, non-discriminatory care to intersex patients. “Intersex” describes up to 1.7% of the population born with natural variations in chromosomes, hormones, or genitalia that transcend an outdated understanding of biological sex as a male/female binary. The guide’s release corresponds to the first successful legislation in the United States acknowledging the non-consensual surgeries faced by intersex people. Passed in August by the state of California, SCR-110 calls for the creation of clear policy encouraging the delay of cosmetic procedures until an intersex individual is old enough to make an informed decision.

Intersex affirming policy published after California legislation

NEW YORK — interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, Lambda Legal, and Proskauer Rose LLP have released the nation’s first intersex-affirming hospital policy guide, offering concrete steps for medical providers to provide sensitive, non-discriminatory care to intersex patients. “Intersex” describes up to 1.7% of the population born with natural variations in chromosomes, hormones, or genitalia that transcend an outdated understanding of biological sex as a male/female binary. The guide’s release corresponds to the first successful legislation in the United States acknowledging the non-consensual surgeries faced by intersex people, stated a press release from Lambda Legal. Passed in August by the state of California, SCR-110 calls for the creation of clear policy encouraging the delay of cosmetic procedures until an intersex individual is old enough to make an informed decision. Often performed during childhood, the surgeries have been condemned by major human rights groups such as the United Nations, Physicians for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch, as well as every intersex-led organization in the world.