Washington may be about to recognise a third gender for the first time
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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“This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me,” J Gibbons, a non-binary, transgender Portland resident said.
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: