OLYMPIA, Wash. - There was a full house at the hearing on whether a new gender designation should be added to Washington state birth certificates.
“As a kid growing up in the Midwest, it's a dream for me to see a state like Washington taking a stand to legitimize nonbinary identities, when at times we are really invisible in a whole lot of different places,” said Sam Miller.
Today's Washington birth certificates offer a choice of male or female. The Department of Health proposes to add "X" for those whose gender identification is not binary.
“Society is changing and we are seeing more and more people who identify neither male or specific female, but something in between,” said Christie Spice, of the Washington Health Department.
Roughly 80 percent of those who testified were supportive of the change.
“To me, laws and rulings such as this attempt to reflect the best of society. This rule would now include the best of our community and Washington in that reflection,” said Megan King.
Beth Daranciang is opposed. “Gender identity is a social construct. It's not biological or legal, and to change this to make it a gender marker, not a sex marker, would upend the whole purpose of the birth certificate,” she said.
Kaeley Triller Haver said, “We think there are a lot of unintended consequences that have not been considered. In an emotional rush to try to make people feel welcome and included, we're going to create a lot more victims in the process.”
Even if the change is made, babies would still be classified as male or female when they are born, but as they get older, they could make the change.
Supporters criticized a provision that would require certification from both a parent and a medical professional for minors to make the change. They said it was too burdensome and that one or the other should be enough.
The secretary of health is expected to make a decision by the end of this month, and the change could be implemented by the end of January.
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