State eyes nongender option on birth certificates

Designation of male or female could be changed to ‘X’




Health officials in Washington state are considering a new policy that would give people the option to change the sex on their birth certificate to a third, nongendered designation.

If a proposed rule change is adopted, adults — and minors with parental permission — could apply to change their sex designation to “X” instead of male or female. The proposed language defines X as “a gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, amalgagender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, female-to-male, genderfluid, genderqueer, male-to-female, neutrois, nonbinary, pangender, third sex, transgender, transsexual, Two Spirit and unspecified.”

Parents wishing to change their child’s sex designation would need to submit a signed statement from the child’s doctor saying the change is “consistent with the minor’s identity.” A person’s birth certificate could only be changed after it is completed at the time of birth with a male or female sex designation.

Supporters of the proposal told Seattle’s KING5 news that allowing a non-gendered sex designation would acknowledge the people who say they don’t fit the mold of male or female. Opponents say it would threaten Washington’s vital health records system and that male and female are the only biologically sound sex designations.

Washington’s Health Department expects the rule change to take effect in late January, if adopted. John Wiesman, the Washington secretary of health, has final say over whether to approve the rule.

In June, Oregon became the first state to offer the gender-neutral option of X on driver’s licenses. The District of Columbia soon followed with a similar rule change. Legislation allowing nonbinary sex designation on driver’s licenses has also been introduced in California and New York.