The term non-binary encompasses all individuals who do not self-identify as a traditional male or female. It can also include those with intersex conditions, who are born with both male and female physical traits.
Non-binary individuals born in the following states have the option to alter their U.S. birth certificate and change their assigned gender to an “X” or non-binary category:
- New Jersey
- New York City
- Washington D.C.
However, more states may be added to this list as LGBTQ rights advocates across the U.S. continue to push for new laws concerning gender changes and alternative gender selections on ID documents.
Advocates claim that the current laws are discriminatory against transgender and gender-fluid individuals, and they are fighting for legal rights for non-binary people.
In addition to allowing birth certificate amendments, some states are also permitting changes to other government-issued IDs and providing a gender “x” option.
Why gender-neutral IDs are important
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are 10 currently recognized sexual development disorders that can result in both male and female sexual and physical traits.
A United Nations report claims that these conditions affect up to 1.7% of individuals worldwide, while a study completed by The Endocrine Society found approximately 1 in every 1,000 babies is born with intersex traits.
In light of this information, it’s clear that there is a large group of people who are legally unable to apply for ID documents that match their gender status.
While a few states, including Colorado, Michigan, and New Jersey, have added a gender “x” option to birth certificates, this change has not carried over to other IDs issued by the state.
So, advocates are pushing for new laws that permit transgender, intersex, and non-binary people to use identification that aligns with their identity.
Not only will this eliminate one of many sources of discrimination, it will also:
- Be validating for affected individuals
- Make government programs available to all citizens, since not all state or government programs accept gender-neutral IDs
- Foster acceptance of non-traditional gender identities
Gender-neutral options on U.S. Birth Certificates
Currently, only individuals born in California, Maine, Oregon, New York City, Washington, DC, or Washington State can change to an “X” option on their birth certificates However, the rules and regulations to do so vary by location.
For example, in New York City, for example, parents can update the gender on their child’s birth certificate to an “X” any time before the child turns 18. While the birth certificate application that must be filled out when the child is born only includes traditional male and female options, parents can apply for an amendment as soon as the certificate is created.
More and more parents are raising their children gender-neutral and encouraging them to decide their own gender at the time of their choosing. Gender-neutral birth certificate options allow parents to change their child’s stated gender to the one that they identify with.
Including a gender-neutral option on birth certificates provides these benefits:
- Acts as a placeholder, allowing the child to determine their own gender identity.
- Provides another option for parents who have a child with an intersex condition.
- Offers an inclusive category for intersex individuals.
- Creates an options for non-binary people who don’t self-identify as male or female.
- Is a significant step towards identity recognition for many trans, non-binary, and intersex people.
In addition, NYC allows non-binary adults to apply to have their birth certificate changed to gender “x” at any time. While other states require proof of sexual reassignment surgery in order to change the gender on a birth certificate.
Gender-neutral ID policies in each state
Gender-neutral policies vary widely by state, with some allowing gender-neutral options on all IDs, and some on none at all. Others only offer a gender-neutral option on birth certificates, and not on any other forms of ID. Still other states have a non-binary option on driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards, but do not allow gender changes on birth certificates.
As you can see, the rules and regulations can be confusing, since they vary so much from state to state. So, we’ve provided a handy table showing the gender-neutral options in each state. We will continue to update this table as more states pass laws allowing non-binary gender markers. If your state hasn’t updated their offerings yet, keep checking back. We want you to be able to get an ID that correctly represents your gender as soon as possible.
|Non-Binary Options by State|
|State||Non-Binary Birth Certificates||Non-Binary Driver’s License / State ID|
|Alabama||Not Available||Not Available|
|Alaska||Not Available||Not Available|
|Arizona||Not Available||Not Available|
|Connecticut||Not Available||Not Available|
|Delaware||Not Available||Not Available|
|Florida||Not Available||Not Available|
|Georgia||Not Available||Not Available|
|Idaho||Not Available||Not Available|
|Indiana||Not Available||Not Available|
|Iowa||Not Available||Not Available|
|Kentucky||Not Available||Not Available|
|Louisiana||Not Available||Not Available|
|Mississippi||Not Available||Not Available|
|Missouri||Not Available||Not Available|
|Montana||Not Available||Not Available|
|Nebraska||Not Available||Not Available|
|Nevada||Not Available||Not Available|
|New Hampshire||Not Available||Not Available|
|New Jersey||Available||Not Available|
|New Mexico||Not Available||Available|
|New York||Only available for those born in New York City||Not Available|
|North Carolina||Not Available||Not Available|
|North Dakota||Not Available||Not Available|
|Ohio||Not Available||Not Available|
|Oklahoma||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rhode Island||Not Available||Not Available|
|South Carolina||Not Available||Not Available|
|South Dakota||Not Available||Not Available|
|Tennessee||Not Available||Not Available|
|Texas||Not Available||Not Available|
|West Virginia||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wisconsin||Not Available||Not Available|
|Wyoming||Not Available||Not Available|
Non-binary options in California
California passed the Gender Recognition Act, adding non-binary as a choice in 2019, eliminating the restriction to solely male or female gender selections. However, this does not only apply to California birth certificates, it also includes driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards.
The new laws allow transgender individuals to change the gender on their IDs without sworn documentation from their doctors. Instead, the individual must provide an affidavit stating that the change aligns with their current gender identity.
While other states had already added a non-binary option to driver’s licenses and state IDs, California was the first state to offer the choice on birth certificates.
Non-binary options in New York
New York City’s laws are similar to California’s, in that individuals can provide an affidavit to change the gender on their birth certificates. NYC does not ask for any documentation from the person’s doctor in order to change the gender on a birth certificate.
The law was designed to make birth certificates issued in New York City more inclusive, and other states soon passed similar laws of their own, including Maine, Vermont, Utah, and Minnesota.
But fortunately, individuals in New York state can apply for an ID that aligns with their gender identity.
Non-binary options in New Jersey
New Jersey passed a law that went into effect February 1, 2019, adding an undesignated/non-binary option on birth certificates.
When signing the new law in July 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated that he would “continue to strive toward equality for all of our residents, regardless of sex or gender expression.”
The new third option gives families the ability to raise their children gender-neutral, as well as giving those born with an intersex condition the opportunity to choose which gender they identify as.
Bookmark this page to get the latest information other states adopt new laws to allow more gender-neutral options.