Recognizing You As Who You Are: Gender Marker Changes in Washington State


Great news! The Washington Department of Health has proposed a new rule to make it easier for a person to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. It also creates a gender marker in addition to male or female. If the rule is approved, you could change your gender marker to X, which represents a gender that is not exclusively male or female (such as intersex, agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, Two Spirit, non-binary, and more).

Currently, state law requires either a court order or a doctor's letter if a person needs to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. Even then, the gender options are only male and female. This proposed rule would make the process easier, and pave the way for more inclusive state documentation. It would also recognize non-binary minors, who could change their certificates with the help of a parent or guardian and a statement from an approved health care provider.

This is an incredible step forward, especially considering that Washington is one of the first states to consider a rule of this nature. But Legal Voice and our allies want to ensure this policy is reflective of our communities' needs and lived realities. Please share your thoughts on the proposed rule using this community survey.

If you would not be affected by this new rule, we still need your allyship! Here's how you can help:

  • Share the survey link with the non-binary and transgender people in your life.

  • Submit comments of support to the Department of Health by Tuesday, December 5th. Write your own message or use this sample text:

Dear Vicki M. Bouvier & Washington Department of Health Office of Vital Statistics, I am writing to show my support for proposed rules to amend WAC 246-490-075 to allow for a non-binary birth certificate option and to reduce the barriers to amending sex designations on birth certificates. These proposed changes come at a time as our culture is acknowledging that the role of the State is to accurately reflect the diversity of our communities when it comes to gender. Many other states and nations have recognized that there are more genders than male and female, and we have heard loud and clear from thousands of people in Washington that our current rule inadequately addresses the diversity of gender in our state. For these reasons and so many more, I am urging you to amend WAC 246-490-075 to add an additional gender marker option for non-binary people and to reduce the barriers to the process to change gender on birth certificates. Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] [YOUR ADDRESS] [YOUR PHONE NUMBER (optional)]

  • Join us at the public hearing next Tuesday! We anticipate a strong showing by people opposed to this important rule, and we want include as many supportive voices as we can. You can even testify if you have a story to share. The hearing is next Tuesday, December 5th, at 1:00 pm in Tumwater (Point Plaza East, Room 152/153, 310 Israel Road SE).

If you have questions about the proposed rule and what it might mean for you, please see this FAQ.

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