California to Recognize Non-Binary Gender on State IDs

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Californians will be able to identify as non-binary on driver's licenses and birth certificates under a new bill signed Monday, making California the second state to allow an option beyond "male" or "female" on state-issued identification.

California joins Oregon and Washington, D.C., in recognizing a third gender: In addition to "F" and "M," there will be an "X" option for non-binary or non-specific gender. The legislation would also make it easier for transgender, non-binary, and intersex Californians to apply for a change in gender on legal documents.

Advocates say the push to recognize non-binary citizens through official identification can help these individuals obtain housing and employment and perhaps even eliminate harassment.

Bill author Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) thanked California Governor Jerry Brown for his support in a statement on Monday, noting that it can be difficult when residents "don’t have an ID that matches their gender presentation."

"The Gender Recognition Act will eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety for many Californians, and it exemplifies the leadership role that our state continues to take in LGBTQ civil rights," Atkins said.