For transgender, intersex, and nonbinary people, government paperwork is not just a hassle — it’s something that may not accurately reflect their identity. Society has defined people by the genders of male and female for so long, but as the gender rights movement continues to grow, some states are changing how they handle their administrative paper trail, and it’s a huge step in the right direction. With California becoming the first state to offer a third gender option on birth certificates and driver’s licenses, there’s now more hope than ever that people who identify as nonbinary will be able to change their birth certificate to reflect who they are.
As The New York Times explained, California is now offering a gender-neutral birth certificate for people who don’t identify as male or female through the state’s new bill.
Before bill SB 179, Californians who wanted a nonbinary gender designation on their birth certificate had to get a physician’s letter stating that they had undergone treatment for gender transition. But as nonbinary people don’t think of themselves as either male or female, this bill has made California laws more inclusive.
According to The Sacramento Bee,
No other states currently have legislation like this, but the state of Washington is considering a nonbinary gender designation on birth certificates, according to Northwest Public Radio. And a nonbinary birth certificate was issued in New York City in December 2016 for an intersex person.
The Intersex Society of North America describes intersex as a “term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” And PBS reported that an Oregon court ruled that nonbinary is a legal gender in June 2016 due to an intersex person’s case.
So while California is the first state to make nonbinary birth certificates law, there’s more momentum behind this movement than ever before to have people’s identifying paperwork match who they truly are.