• Washington will soon offer a 'X' option on birth certificates for trans and non-binary people. (Michael Nigro / Getty Image)
The landmark move means that non-binary and trans people will be able to have their gender recognised on official documents such as birth certificates, without a note from a doctor.
Chloe Sargeant

8 Jan 2018 - 11:41 AM  UPDATED 8 Jan 2018 - 11:41 AM

The state of Washington will soon allow residents to change their gender on their birth certificates to 'X', or the 'third gender', without confirmation from a doctor. 

The change, which will occur on January 27 this year, was confirmed by the state's Department of Health late last week after being proposed at the end of August last year.

The Department of Health confirmed 'X' to mean, "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".

As well as adding the 'X' option for gender and sex designation on birth certificates, the ruling removes the need for adults to legally provide a doctor's confirmation, and also expands the list of medical professionals who can provide paperwork for minors wanting to make the change to their birth certificate. Minors will also need a letter of permission from a parent or guardian.

The change will not affect birth certificates given to newborn babies - only to those wanting to make changes to their gender on their birth certificate later in life. The change will also only apply to those born in Washington state.

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GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that more and more LGBTQI+ young people today are rejecting traditional gender roles and the male/female gender binary, and so changes like this one are important in regard to these evolving narratives: "It is vital that states catch up and acknowledge the reality of the non-binary community," she said.

"With LGBTQ people and especially trans and non-binary Americans under attack daily by the Trump Administration, as evidenced by Trump's efforts to block trans Americans from serving in the military and rescinding of Title IX protections for trans students, designation 'X' is a powerful and reaffirming sign that our identities cannot and will not be erased."

Similar changes are reportedly set to happen in Oregon in 2018 - the state already offers to 'X' option on state-issued identification cards such as drivers licenses.

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