As the views of Americans on gender shift, so do the laws across the country -albeit, gradually. In more than 10 states, it is now possible to request a non-binary birth certificate or amend an existing one.
The term non-binary includes any person who does not identify with a gender that falls within the traditional male/female or man/woman category. These new regulations are also inclusionary for citizens born intersex, meaning they have ambiguous genitalia or sexual characteristics from both genders.
Latest Updates on Non-Binary Birth Certificates
Many states are reviewing and updating their laws to accommodate non-binary and genderfluid citizens. These are introduced to allow people to register their preferred gender identity on official vital records.
- : New York announces new gender-neutral options for birth certificates and driving licenses.
- : Wisconsin introduces new laws allowing parents to identify simply as “parent” or “parent giving birth” on a child’s birth certificate.
US States that Issue Non-Binary Birth Certificates
People who were born in any of the following US locations, who do not identify as male or female, can legally opt for a 3rd gender category or X marker on their US birth certificate:
LGBTQ+ rights advocates in multiple US states have been petitioning lawmakers to allow identity documents to be more easily changed to match gender identity.
These representatives defend that strict male and female categories are a form of discrimination against transgender and gender-fluid people whereas they are being labeled by others against their will.
The recognition of this new bills is a significant step for the movement as it progressively provides legal recognition for non-binary genders in different states throughout the US. Laws in some states allow an «X» on birth certificates as well as state-issued identification documents such as drivers’ licenses.
Gender «X» on a Birth Certificate
- Acts as a placeholder until the child is able to self-identify with a gender on their own
- Relieves the pressure on parents to choose a gender during the first days after birth of a child with a sexual variation
- Gives intersex children an inclusive term since some of them present both female and male sexual and/or hormonal traits
- Allows people who do not identify as neither male nor female gender to express this on their legal document
- Eliminates part of the battle that many transgender, gender non-conforming, gender non-binary, gender fluid, genderqueer, and agender people often go through to override or justify non-conformity with their original gender designation
Additionally, trans, intersex, and non-binary people already face marginalization and discrimination even before they are required to select an option that does not fit their reality or experience.
- It can be emotionally validating for the citizen, eliminating part of the stigma and shame that surrounds having a different body
- It makes government services and benefits available to everyone -citizens with a form of proof of identity that is not accepted by their government due to the “X” marker cannot apply for certain services or benefits
- It provides parents the encouragement to allow their children to make their own decisions as they grow up
Choosing or Changing to Gender-Neutral on a US Birth Certificate
Citizens born in California, Maine, and Washington now have 3 gender choices; they are allowed to identify as “X” on state-issued identification documents.
In some states, individuals have to wait until they are 18 years old to file a request for a birth certificate sex marker change/identify as X. In others, parents can assist minors who wish to amend their birth certificate.
Often, despite the fact that parents are not allowed to choose X on their child’s first birth certificate at the time of birth, they can seek to make the change immediately after the document is issued.