On October 26, we commemorate Intersex Awareness Day and honor the many contributions intersex voices have made in the global struggle for inclusion, equality, and dignity for all. The Department of State is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of all individuals, including intersex persons, who often face discrimination, harmful medical practices, violence, and social stigma solely based on their sex characteristics.
The Department has made it a priority to include intersex voices and perspectives in U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance. This spring, the Department established a historic precedent, offering the X gender marker on U.S. passport application forms, which paves the way for intersex, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming persons to mark unspecified or other gender. And today, we are announcing that Kimberly Zieselman, a respected intersex expert and advocate, has joined the office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons.
As Secretary Blinken told heads of government and foreign ministers at the United Nations LGBTI Core Group last month, “intersex people, including minors, continue to be subjected to unnecessary surgeries without their consent,” underscoring the important responsibility of governments to ensure LGBTQI+ persons across the globe are able to enjoy the same rights and protections as all other persons. In the President’s 2021 Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World, he stated that it is the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics. The United States stands in solidarity with intersex persons, honoring the advocacy of activists, organizations, and governments, and remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting and protecting the dignity and human rights of intersex persons around the world.