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Gender 'X' could soon be an option on California state IDs

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, left, talks with Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, at the Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Wiener, and Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, introduced legislation on Thursday to add a non-binary gender option on state identifying documents including driver's licenses, birth certificates and identity cards.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, left, talks with Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, at the Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Wiener, and Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, introduced legislation on Thursday to add a non-binary gender option on state identifying documents including driver's licenses, birth certificates and identity cards. AP

California could become the U.S. state with the most fluid definition of gender on its official state IDs if a bill making its way through the legislature becomes law.

The California Senate has already passed SB179, which would introduce a third gender option for state identification. Currently, driver’s licenses and other forms of official identification only contain options for male or female. The bill would allow a third option, which would likely be ‘X,’ according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The bill allowing people to identify as “nonbinary” will be considered in the California Assembly. It would also make it easier for transgender people to make sure legal state documents appropriately reflect their gender.

“It’s liberating to be able to say, ‘Yes, this is who I am,’ and, ‘Yes, my state documentation matches that,’” Dee Shull, who identifies as gender fluid, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the Transgender Law Center, California law currently allows people to change their gender marker on birth certificates without having had gender reassignment surgery.

Jo Michael of Equality California, who identifies as transgender and nonbinary, said identification that reflects their gender identity will allow transgender people to more fully participate in society.

Earlier this summer, Oregon became the first state to offer a third gender option for residents on identification. That state’s law only applies to driver’s licenses and allows people to select “X” in place of “M” or “F.” An estimated 20,000 people in Oregon identify as transgender, according to the Oregonian.

Oregon’s law change didn’t require a legislative vote because the state’s law doesn’t require someone to choose between male or female on driver’s licenses.

Starting Aug. 31, Canadians can obtain passports that identify their gender as “X.”

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