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Jul 11 2014

White House Response to Non-Binary Gender Petition

10464169_10201853698937124_3923966816234564280_nDon’t get too excited, folks. The response was about as disappointing as you might expect.

Thank you for your petition requesting that the executive branch legally recognize genders outside of the male-female binary and provide an option for these genders on all legal documents and records.

We know how important this issue is, and we understand the profound impact, both symbolic and otherwise, of having official documents that accurately reflect an individual’s identity. These documents play an essential, functional role, but also demonstrate the measure of dignity and respect afforded to our nation’s citizens. We cannot overstate the care and seriousness that should be brought to bear on the issue.

We recognize the importance of gender identification in particular and the Obama Administration is working to modernize federal policies in this area. For example, in 2010, the U.S. Department of State made it easier for individuals to update the gender marker in their passports. And last year, the Social Security Administration followed suit by simplifying the process for individuals to change the gender marker on their social security cards to reflect their identity accurately.

As you can imagine, there is considerable variance across agencies and levels of government. And so while the Obama Administration wants to make sure that official documents reflect the identities of the Americans who hold them, we believe proposals to change when and how gender is listed on official documents should be considered on a case-by-case basis by the affected federal and state agencies. However, that consideration must be informed by best practices and a commitment to honoring individuality and ensuring fairness.

Thank you again for your petition. We appreciate your input and the opportunity to convey our shared commitment.

It really just strikes me that the person who wrote this response (Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity in the Domestic Policy Council) doesn’t have an understanding of non-binary sex, much less gender. Like how babies are born with “ambiguous” genitalia and there’s no legal option for designating their sex as something other than strictly male or female. (Not to mention the many inherent problems with designating sex at birth anyway.)

The original petition wasn’t worded super well anyway.

Legal documents in the United States only recognize “male” and “female” as genders, leaving anyone who does not identify as one of these two genders with no option. Australia and New Zealand both allow an X in place of an M or an F on passports for this purpose and the UK recognizes ‘Mx’ (pronounced as Mix or sometimes Mux) as a gender-neutral title.

This petition asks the Obama Administration to legally recognize genders outside of the male-female binary (such as agender, pangender, genderfluid, and others) and provide an option for these genders on all legal documents and records.

So yeah, an expected disappointing response. I’m glad there’s a way for us to engage our government more directly and show our numbers, but I had hoped for more.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Tuesday Meadows

    With impending death of ENDA the transgender community needs protection against discrimination disguised as religious freedom. 2016 is coming at us like a truck getting ready to hit a deer.

  2. 2
    1arritechno .

    I believe, any positive change will occur from one of two catalysts in the United States : The law makers will eventually yield to Protests by its Citizens,, OR the Government will be driven into reform by embarrassment in being the last democratic country in the world, to address gender identification & discrimination . Going on the rate of change in other First World Countries ; looks like it will be the latter & likely be initiated in the US,, within a few years !

  3. 3
    Matthew White

    Is anyone allowed to have an X on their passport in Australia and New Zealand or Mx in the U.K.?

    Also, why was the petition for a third designator, as opposed to simply removing all such designators?

  4. 4
    Abdul Alhazred

    … It really just strikes me that the person who wrote this response (Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity in the Domestic Policy Council) doesn’t have an understanding of non-binary sex, much less gender. …

    You give whoever really wrote it (not Roy Austin who merely signed it) way too much credit.

    You just got a “bedbug letter”.

  5. 5
    Abdul Alhazred

    On another note, why have gender on official documents at all?
    Seriously.

    1. 5.1
      Meggamat

      I suppose it helps them analyse demographic information, to help them win elections.

  6. 6
    female alopecia treatment

    Excellent siteonfemale hair loss! Thanks!

  7. 7
    That Guy

    I agree, disappointing.

  8. 8
    Rick H.

    Jesus Fricking Christ

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