New Mexico could become the seventh US state to recognise non-binary people on birth certificates.
It would also allow trans people to change their legal gender without being required to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
“I believe it’s a fundamental right for every person to be respected and recognised for who they are.”
— New Mexico State Senator Jacob Candelaria
The bill, which was introduced on January 15, has passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee and is set to move to the floor for a vote.
Three Democrats co-sponsored the bill, including Senator Jacob Candelaria.
He said: “When we, as a state, put up these barriers, thinking that we know better, that we know best and have the right and the role to dictate to people who we truly are, we know that causes significant harm to transgender folks, to their mental health and to their general health.”
He added: “I believe it’s a fundamental right for every person to be respected and recognised for who they are.
“And the state should afford them the same dignity it affords to every other person.”
New Mexico would join growing movement towards non-binary recognition
Several US states have already recognised non-binary people on official documents.
New Jersey is set to become the sixth US state to offer birth certificates which include non-binary people, with the state’s law coming into effect on Friday (February 1).
Parents in the northeastern state will be able to choose from three options: male, female or undesignated/non-binary.
Like New Mexico’s Senate Bill 20, New Jersey’s law means trans people will be able to change their official gender without having confirmation surgery.
Grace Mauceri, a New Jersey resident whose 14-year-old son is trans, told local station News 12 New Jersey that without being able to define their own gender pre-surgery, children could be outed as trans by their documents.
She said this “could even out the children who chose to be more private,” adding that “it is disconcerting and unsettling when you don’t have your legal documents match your identity. It feels unsafe.”
Mauceri’s son said he hoped the new law would facilitate an improvement in the treatment of trans people in New Jersey.
“I hope that people realise that being trans is okay, that being trans is normal,” he said.