Washington State recently announced its plan to add a third gender on its birth certificates.
If passed, starting early 2018, parents would be allowed to choose ‘X’ as an option on birth certificates. Additionally, people who wish to change their assigned sex on their birth certificate would also be able to choose ‘X,’ a non-binary third gender.
On Tuesday, 5 December, the Washington State Department of Health held a hearing for residents to comment on the proposal. The Department heard from both supporters and critics.
Opinions from the people
Seth Kirby, executive director for Oasis Youth Center in Tacoma, thinks the proposal is a positive thing.
‘I think there is a way it can be done that is smooth and respectful, and further acknowledges who people are,’ Kirby told WCNC.
Christie Spice, a member of the Washington State Department of Health, sees the need for a third option as society is changing.
‘More people are identifying as a gender other than a male or female and there’s growing demand for non-binary sex designations on all identity documents, including birth certificates,’ Spice said.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea, however.
Chris Plante of Family Policy Institute of Washington claims this third option could ‘threaten the integrity of state records.’
‘There is a biological reality here of male or female, and that is what our official records ought to indicate,’ Plante said.
In June, Oregon became the first state to allow a third gender option for driver’s licenses and state IDs. California soon followed, with its governor signing the Gender Recognition Act in October.
While Washington’s proposed law only applies to birth certificates, a spokesperson for the Department of Licensing said the agency is in the early stages of deciding whether it will offer a third gender on state-issued IDs.