State of Washington Allows Non-Binary Gender Option on Birth Certificates

The new law means parents are no longer forced to identify their child's gender at birth.

This week, the State of Washington announced that it would be offering residents the chance to identify as a third, non-binary gender known as “X.” The law, which goes into effect on January 27, was passed by the Washington State Department of Health in order to give citizens the opportunity to identify outside of the traditional “male” and “female” genders, as “X” is meant to represent all genders outside of the male-female binary.

This new law, of course, could have a huge impact on newborns, as parents will no longer be forced to select a gender for their kid if they want the child to have the opportunity to discover their gender for themselves. Residents can have their gender changed on their birth certificate without needing a note from a doctor, except for minors. This law allows non-binary people who were born in Washington to finally be recognized outside of the two primary genders. And it also could mean that a kid can initially be identified as “X” by their parent then make a change on their birth certificate later, if necessary.

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Danni Askini, Executive Director of the Gender Justice League, celebrated the victory for the LGBTQIA community while also acknowledging that the new law is not perfect.

“The significance here is that this rule allows people to be recognized for who they are,” Askini said, “which is a fundamental part of our country. It’s also a big step for our state to acknowledge that there are more than two genders.”

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Last year, Oregon became the first state to allow citizens the option of choosing non-binary on driver’s licenses, instead of being forced to choose male or female. But the majority of states still do not officially recognize non-binary genders, which makes the newest law out of Washington a major victory for all non-binary Americans.

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