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Washington State Proposes Non-Binary Option on Birth Certificates

The state of Washington could soon follow Oregon and California by allowing a third gender option on birth certificates.

The new proposal would allow parents to choose “X” as an option instead of having to declare the sex of their child. The proposal also would apply to those who wish to change the gender that is listed on their current birth certificate. Though Washington State currently allows individuals to petition to change their gender marker, this would be the first time that the state would offer a non-binary option. Children would also be allowed to make the change with their parent’s consent and a doctor’s letter.

Christie Spice with the Washington Department of Health told KUOW News the reason for the new option is because society is changing. “And more people are identifying as a gender other than a male or female and there’s growing demand for non-binary sex designations on all identity documents, including birth certificates,” Spice said.

If the proposal is approved, Washington would join Oregon and California as states that have a non-binary option for birth certificates. The new rules would take effect in early 2018. The Department of Health has already received almost 1,000 written comments both in support and against the proposed changes.

A spokesperson for Washington’s Department of Licensing has said the agency is also in the early stages of considering adding a non-binary option to state issued ID cards.

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