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Washington may be about to recognise a third gender for the first time

Josh Jackman December 6, 2017
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SEATTLE - MAY 1: Protestors hold signs and greet participants to a rally to affirm traditional marriage between a man and a woman on May 1, 2004 at Safeco Field in Seattle. The special speaker was James Dobson, founder of the evangelical Christian group called "Focus on the Family". The event was organized by local Christian groups and drew approximately 20,000 people as well as about 3,000 protestors, according to police. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)

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Washington may soon give non-binary people legal recognition.

The state has proposed adding a third gender, labelled ‘X’, to official documents like driving licenses and birth certificates.

If approved, the changes would come into effect in just two months, in February next year.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09:  Members of the transgender community and their supporters attend a rally for transgender equality on Capitol Hill, June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Capital Pride Parade and the Equality March for Unity and Pride are both scheduled to take place in Washington this weekend. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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At a public hearing for the plan, supporters are reported to have greatly outnumbered those in opposition.

During the meeting, which was standing room-only, young residents spoke up in defence of their rights.

One told those gathered: “As a kid growing up in the mid-west, it’s a dream for me to see a state like Washington taking a stand to legitimise non-binary identities, when a lot of the time we’re really invisible in a whole lot of places.”

(k5news)

Tobias Gurl opened up to the room, saying: “I’m grateful to be living in a time when trans people are beginning to be treated with fairness, understanding, and compassion, and to be living and working in a state where we are receiving more recognition than ever before.”

There were also speakers who opposed the process.

(k5news)

Kaeley Triller Haver, co-founder of the transphobic Hands Across the Aisle Women’s Coalition, warned vaguely of “unintended consequences”.

“We’re going to create a lot more victims in the process,” she said, without citing any evidence to back up her claim.

A final decision is expected on the issue before the end of the year.

Washington DC became the first US territory to hand out gender-neutral driving licenses and ID cards in June.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 19: A participant holds a sign saying "Trans and Proud" during the Glasgow Pride march on August 19, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. The largest festival of LGBTI celebration in Scotland has been held every year in Glasgow since 1996. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
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Oregon and California were making moves to recognise non-binary people, but DC flew under the radar to cross the finish line first.

Nic Sakurai, an agender Washington resident, was the first American to ever receive a gender-neutral identification form.

They said: “I don’t feel that sense of gender as something that is part of my core innate experience.”

Trans rights protest in Chicago (Getty Images)
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“I’m glad to finally have an ID that actually matches who I am.”

And just two days later, Oregon’s law came into effect, making it the first US state to legally recognise non-binary people.

“This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me,” J Gibbons, a non-binary, transgender Portland resident said.

Dozens of people cheer and dance as they take part in the Namibian Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) community pride Parade in the streets of the Namibian Capitol on July 29, 2017 in Windhoek. Even though there have been marches and protests against discrimination against the LGBT community in the past years, this is the first time that the community held such a parade along the capital's main street, Independence Avenue, to celebrate their identity and rights. / AFP PHOTO / Hildegard Titus (Photo credit should read HILDEGARD TITUS/AFP/Getty Images)
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In March, Patch, a 27-year-old video game designer from Oregon, became the first legally agender person in the US.

Patch, who does not use pronouns, also won the right to become mononymous – that is, to be known by a first name alone, with no surname.

Watch a report on the meeting below:

Related topics: gender, Law, non-binary, Politics, Third Gender, Trans, Transgender, US, US, Washington, Washington state

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