Evolving ideas and policies regarding gender

Evolving ideas and policies regarding gender

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Pennsylvania will soon join 13 states and Washington, D.C. that already offer the gender designation of X on state-issued IDs.

While it’s no surprise that New York, Oregon, California and Minnesota are on the list of progressive states offering an alternative option to the binaried “M” or “F” of IDs, what about Arkansas and Utah?

Expanding ideas on gender are infiltrating states across the country, even those not always on the cutting edge of progressive idealogies.

Earlier this week Washington joined the list of those in the planning stages of offering the X designation, and now it’s our turn.

A societal shift is occurring, with folks thinking about the possibilities of a more expansive gender. Singular use of the pronoun “they” is now accepted by all popular style guides — a change that only happened in the last two years and was heavily debated.

Grammarians have leveled, become accepting, even championed the change, in order to be on the right side of history.

While the 2020 census still lacks options other than male or female, under a conservative administration, other legislation moves forward.

Forward. Maybe, around.

In the 1920s, gender fluidity was acknowledged and even admired — think “Cabaret.”

And the concept of nonbinary gender identities is not new or western.

The Two-Spirit identity has existed in Native and Indigenous communities for generations. Hijra is a third recognized gender in India, and Thailand recognizes kathoey as a third gender also.

While we are not the leaders in the revolution against the binary, the U.S. is finally making strides.

Television series, like “Another Life,” are now including nonbinary, as well as transgender, characters and actors.

Media is, as always, following trend, but this is important and demonstrates a certain level of economic power. Seeing oneself represented in media and in marketing campaigns (like those of Sephora) means more folks are able to feel seen.

The ability to define oneself as “X” on a license is one of those small changes that provides, not only comfort, but also safety and is life altering for some. A true step toward equity.

Thank you PennDOT.

With so much buy in, we can now start to imagine the U.S. Passport giving folks the option of a gender designation other than “M” or “F.”


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