Washington state considers allowing third gender option on birth certificates

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 19: A participant holds a sign saying "Trans and Proud" during the Glasgow Pride march on August 19, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. The largest festival of LGBTI celebration in Scotland has been held every year in Glasgow since 1996. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)

The US state of Washington is considering for the first time whether to allow a third gender option for birth certificates.

On Tuesday a public meeting was held at which officials asked for opinions on a proposal that parents could choose between the binary gender options male or female or a third option when they have a baby.

As with other jurisdictions and other countries, the state is considering using Gender X as a third option on official documents.

Baby grasping a grownup finger


The change, if accepted, would add to gender recognition laws in the state which already allow people to legally change gender.

It would be the first time Washington State would offer a gender-neutral option for official documents.

The state would also join just two other states, California and Oregon, to allow children to list a non-binary gender on birth certificates.

The state’s Department of Health’s spokesperson, Christie Spice, said that the change represents a shift in societal attitudes.

“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.

KUOW reports that the state had 1,000 submissions both in favour and against the change.

If the law is passed it would take effect in early 2018.

It is unclear whether the change would extend to Gender X identifiers on State ID cards.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a battle for gender x passports is going to court.

British passport


The High Court will hold a full judicial review over the UK government’s refusal to allow ‘Gender X’ passports, after a challenge from a non-gendered campaigner.

A number of countries have created systems which allow their passports to recognise people who are not male or female as a separate ‘Gender X’ category, with New Zealand and Australia among those to make provision for Gender X alongside M and F. 

However, despite political pressure on the issue from LGBT campaigners, the UK government has resisted any move to adopt the standard itself.