UW Law grad's article cited in federal intersex discrimination suit

An article written by Lauren Bishop, who graduated from UW Law School last December, was cited in the opening brief of a federal discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. State Department.

The case, Dana Zzyym v. John Kerry, involves an intersex American citizen who was denied a U.S. passport after leaving the ‘male’ or ‘female’ field blank on their standard passport application form. The form currently requires applicants to select one of two gender designations: ‘M’ or ‘F.’

But according to Lambda Legal, the organization representing Zzyym, “Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of bodies designated ‘male’ or ‘female.’’’ The suit says that, when the State Department denied Zzyym’s application, it violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.

Zzyym’s lawyers used Bishop’s paper, “Gender and Sex Designations for Identification Purposes: A Discussion on Inclusive Documentation for a Less Assimilationist Society,” to demonstrate the growing number of countries that offer passports with gender markers other than ‘male’ or ‘female.’ Bishop wrote the paper while serving as a member of the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender and Society, a student-run organization whose primary purpose is to publish scholarship on legal issues relating to women and gender.

"I am thrilled that my article has been cited in this groundbreaking lawsuit,” says Bishop. “Citizens being denied appropriate identification based on their gender is an overlooked, yet devastating occurrence particularly in LGBTQ communities. I wish Lambda Legal and plaintiff Zzyym the best of luck in the case, and hope they prevail."  

Submitted by Law School News on June 28, 2016

This article appears in the categories: Alumni, Articles, UW Women in Law

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