California is moving closer to officially recognizing a third gender.
A bill which would allow Californians to choose non-binary on their identifying documents and birth certificates passed the state senate last month. It is now making its way through the legislature, with a final vote predicted to take place by the end of summer.
“The idea is that this piece of legislation has been moving forward this year,” Jo Michael, Legislative Manager for Equality California, told ABC10. “We’re hopeful that things will continue to go well and that it will be on the governor’s desk by fall, and will hopefully become law in California this year as well.”
The next vote for the bill will take place Monday July 10 when it is heard in the assembly transportation committee.
Oregon this month became the first state to allow a third gender option on government issued ID cards.
At the same time, a baby in Canada potentially became the “world’s first” newborn to not be given a gender at birth. The parents said they want their child to decide for his or herself.
Non-binary gender refers to someone who does not identify as a man or a woman.
Some companies and social media outlets have already expanded their gender options. On Facebook, for instance, there are more than 50 options for users, such as bigender, cis, intersex, trans and two-spirit.
Asked whether non-binary will include all of these identities, Michael said it won’t necessarily, but that it aims to include as many people as possible.
“The idea is that the current female and male options plus a non-binary option will cover pretty much everyone,” Michael said. “Granted there’s a tremendous diversity within the community in terms of how you identify and how you talk about your gender, but that isn’t necessarily something that overlaps with what your ID documents say.”