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Male, female, or non-binary? Some states offering gender-neutral IDs

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COWETA, Okla. - Human self-identity is a complex and nuanced idea. Our DNA can tell the story of multiple races and cultures. We can build ourselves with characteristics and experiences.

Recently, prescribing a gender to yourself has become optional.

Gender is a social construct, something society makes up. Sex is our chromosomes. Gender is the idea of what is male and female, such as the colors pink and blue being assigned to a gender or the types of clothes that are socially acceptable for each gender to wear.

“Sex and gender are both categorization systems that need to be revamped to better describe our current social, biological, and intellectual understanding of identity, orientation, and sexuality.” Dr. Lindsey Doe, a doctor of human sexuality and clinical sexologist says.

Doe runs a YouTube channel called ‘Sexplanations,’ where all manner of sexuality and identity is discussed from a scientific and medical point of view. As of the writing of this article, she has 357,000 subscribers.

Searyl Atli Doty, born in Canada on Nov. 11, 2016, is one of the first people to be issued a government ID without an F or M gender marker. Instead, a U is placed meaning ‘unspecified.’

“I do not gender my child.” The child’s parent says, “It is up to Searyl to decide how they identify when they are old enough to develop their own gender identity. I am not going to foreclose their choices based on an arbitrary assignment of gender at birth based on an inspection of their genitals.”

America is also catching on to this new way of doing things. This summer, both Washington D.C. and Oregon have begun to issue genderless (also known as gender neutral) driver’s licenses, with an X as a gender marker. In Australia, Alex MacFarlane, a person who is intersex (a person born with XXY chromosomes) was issued a neutral birth certificate and passport as far back as 2003.

The people who want these IDs are called gender neutral, meaning they do not assign a gender to themselves. These are people who have intact and functioning genitalia, but their minds and/or hearts do not match up with society’s expectation of their sex. Also, in MacFarlane’s case, someone who does not have a clear-cut biological sex.

“Non-binary gender is any gender that isn’t exclusively male or female. Non-binary people may feel some mix of both male and female, somewhere in between, or something completely different. Other terms that are similar to ‘non-binary’ are gender-queer, gender-expansive, and gender nonconforming…” said Dr. Meredith R. Chapman, psychiatrist at the Children’s Health GENECIS Program in Dallas, to Teen Vogue in 2016.

In fact, Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare is seen as gender neutral as the character is referred to as ‘they’ in the play.

Red Dirt Report asked Doe about her opinions on the matter and whether or not she believed it is a step forward.

“I think that separating sex and gender is a step but I don’t know in which direction. I think that staying curious is the way forward and if thinking about ourselves and our language is a way of doing this then, forward we go!”

Red Dirt Report reached out to several Oklahoma legislators to see if it would possible for Oklahoma to adopt such a practice. They have yet to answer our requests for comment. 

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Chelsea Copeland

Chelsea Copeland is a native Oklahoman, born in Tulsa and raised in Coweta. She graduated from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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