The Department of Health is considering a rule change that would allow people to identify as “Gender X” on their birth certificate.
TACOMA (AP) — Washington natives soon might be able to change the gender designation on their birth certificates to one that is neither male nor female.
Call it gender X or the more clinical term: nonbinary.
Currently, people born in Washington can request a new birth certificate indicating a gender different from the one recorded at their birth on the original certificates.
They can switch genders on their licenses but only between male and female. If the state Department of Health’s proposed rule changes go into effect, there will be another box to check beyond M or F.
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The state is in the first stages of proposing a nonbinary option for people who feel they are neither male nor female or both.
“What we are trying to do is just have birth certificates align with people’s gender identity,” said the department’s Christie Spice.
On Aug. 22 the Health Department filed paperwork to begin the process. The rule changes would:
— Formalize the procedure for changing gender designation on birth certificates.
— Create a “Change of Gender Designation” request form similar to the one used by the state Department of Licensing.
— Establish a list of medical and mental health providers who can attest to the gender change.
— Add an option for a “nonbinary” sex designation.
The Health Department periodically reviews rules, Spice said. Officials recently reviewed procedures surrounding changing gender designation on birth certificates. They thought they could improve the process.
“And at the same time we were getting growing requests and interest from the public about having options for sex designation,” Spice said.
The changes would not affect birth certificates issued to newborns. It’s only for individuals waiting to change their own certificates. and would apply only to people born in Washington.
Seth Kirby, director of Tacoma’s Oasis Youth Center, said many of the transgender young people his center counsels deal with paperwork that has gender designations, from school records to medical forms.
Having those forms match their gender identity is important to them, he said.
“Often we’re asked the question, ‘How would I go about doing this?’ And it really…