Gender “X”: A new third option for California IDs


Chelsea Wong

Driver licenses in California now have a gender “X” alternative in addition to the traditional two choices, “M” or “F.”

Democratic state Senators Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Toni Atkins of San Diego introduced SB-179, a bill that proposes including a third gender option on official identification papers to legislature. The bill has already passed through California Senate as of September 14 and is also confirmed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill was signed and passed on October 15, 2017 by California governor, Jerry Brown.LGBTQ_SymbolsThe act also gives transgender and nonbinary individuals an easier way to legally change their gender without a lengthy court order on their official documents. The first iteration eliminates two requirements to file a court order for a gender change: an official doctor’s note and an appearance in court.

“It’s actually a very good idea,” senior Katherine Ying said. “Because there’s so many genders out there and so many people questioning and people like me, who at this point have questioned their gender so much, we lost sight to what gender actually is.”

The bill will let California join the states of Oregon and Washington D.C. in accepting non-binary genders and straying away from the strict generalization of either male or female sexes.

“Gender ‘X’ will be a good umbrella term,” Ying said.

On the other hand, senior Olliver Venzon believes that a clear third gender would be an easier way to single out non-binary individuals in a divided society, and that there should be an option for people to not specify their gender. With current politics, he doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea that he could be easily alienated with documents labeling him as gender “X.”

“It gives people a reason to identify me as [transgender] and then possibly discriminate against me, so it makes a lot more sense to just not have a gender identified,” Venzon said.

Senior Ren Chan echoes a similar belief that labeling the non-binary community will make them an easier target for discrimination.

“It doesn’t exactly keep people safe,” Chan said.

In recent politics, transgender rights have been dominating headlines. In late September, President Trump announced his ban on transgender recruits in the military, which stirred up enormous controversy over humans rights. On May 20, the Texas House of Representatives approved a Republican bill banning transgender individuals from entering bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity. In light of these issues, the third gender option is a small but significant victory for the LGBTQ community.