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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.
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.
The most recent developments are as follows:
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.
The gender X option on a birth certificate serves the following purposes:
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.
Having an ID that accurately reflects an individual’s reality has many practical benefits, such as:
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.
Experts explain how this legal option can help parents raise gender-neutral children, allowing kids to establish their own gender if and when they are ready to do so.
This allows parents to update the child’s gender identity so that it is accurately reflected on the minor’s legal documents as the child grows.
Some states —such as Illinois and New Jersey— allow X as a 3rd gender option on a birth certificate. However, they do not allow this gender-neutral option on other state identification documents.
This poses a problem that calls for further legislation to allow effective solutions for individuals that fall within this bracket to obtain other forms of identification that match their gender assignment.
The health requirements also change depending on the state. Some state laws allow adults with a non-binary identity to have their birth certificate amendedto gender-neutral without requiring a note from a medical professional.
In other states, individuals that wish to change the sex marker on their birth certificate are required to provide proof of gender confirmation surgery.
As explained, laws and policies are changing nationwide to allow for non-binary gender markers. The requirements to apply for or amend a gender-neutral birth certificate also vary greatly.
Find below a comprehensive map of US birth certificate policies by state that will help you navigate state laws. Find the state you are interested in and see if non-binary birth certificates are available and what requirements you must meet.
Some states only allow gender-neutral birth certificates, others only allow gender-neutral state IDs, while yet another group offers both gender-neutral photo IDs such as driver’s licenses as well as birth certificates.
Below you will find a comprehensive table with all the updates regarding gender non-binary policies.
|Non-Binary Gender Markers by State|
|State||Non-Binary Birth Certificates||Non-Binary Driver's License / State ID|
|Alabama||Not Available||Not Available|
|Alaska||Not Available||Not Available|
|Arizona||Not Available||Non-binary ID and Death Certificate in the Arizona legislature|
|Delaware||Not Available||Not Available|
|Florida||Not Available||Not Available|
|Georgia||Not Available||Not Available|
|Idaho||Not Available||Not Available|
|Illinois||Not Available||Not Available|
|Iowa||Not Available||Not Available|
|Kentucky||Not Available||Not Available|
|Louisiana||Not Available||Not Available|
|Mississippi||Not Available||Not Available|
|Missouri||Not Available||Not Available|
|Montana||Not Available||Not Available|
|Nebraska||Not Available||Not Available|
|New Hampshire||Not Available||Available|
|New York||Only available for those born in New York City||Available|
|North Carolina||Not Available||Not Available|
|North Dakota||Not Available||Not Available|
|Oklahoma||Not Available||Not Available|
|South Carolina||Not Available||Not Available|
|South Dakota||Not Available||Not Available|
|Tennessee||Not Available||Not Available|
|Texas||Not Available||Not Available|
|West Virginia||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wisconsin||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wyoming||Not Available||Not Available|
The state of California no longer defines gender as either male or female, since it incorporated a 3rd option in 2019.
This extends beyond just birth certificates in California and includes other official documents such as driver’s licenses and State ID which all recognize non-binary as a 3rd gender.
The Gender Recognition Act, not only allows for a third gender choice on birth certificates and driver’s licenses but also facilitates the process for the transgender community to modify their gender on documents.
It puts an end to the requirements of sworn written documents provided by their doctors and is replaced by an affidavit by the individual in which they declare that the change aligns with their gender identity.
With this measure, California follows Oregon and Washington, who already recognize non-binary individuals on driver’s licenses and State IDs. However, it was the first state to extend it to birth certificates.
New York City passed a law that allows non-binary and gender-nonconforming people to obtain birth certificates that align with their gender identity by presenting a personal affidavit.
Similar to California, no document from a doctor is required to change the sex listed on their birth certificate, making it easier for both transgender people and those defining as non-binary or gender fluid.
In a statement to the press, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who announced the law, said that the legislation “will make New York birth certificates more inclusive for all and will send a powerful signal to the world that New York City government works for everyone”.
New York City joins other East Side states in their strides to create more inclusive laws. Maine followed suit and started allowing an “X’ on driver’s licenses, as do Vermont , Utah and Minnesota.
However, all those born in the State of New York can obtain an ID that reflects their gender identity.
In July 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a comprehensive birth certificate law which allows people to choose “male,” “female,” or “undesignated/non-binary,” in the sex field, which became effective on 1 February, 2019.
Upon signing the legislation, Governor Murphy said, "Today is an important day for New Jersey as we continue to strive toward equality for all of our residents, regardless of sex or gender expression,"
Having a third option in the sex category will allow babies that are born intersex to be given time to determine how they identify themselves, and families who want to raise their children outside the typical binary system to have that option.
The states mentioned join Washington, DC which allows for the “X” gender on both birth certificates and personal IDs.
Please bookmark this page as it will be regularly updated as soon as new states change their legislation to be more inclusive allowing third gender options in their documentation.