A birth certificate is something that is assigned to someone at birth, identifying who he or she is. If they were born a female, the certificate says female, and the same goes for a male. Birth certificates are used for the entirety of someone’s lives. What happens when someone’s birth certificate says they are a female, but they identify as a male, or they don’t identify with a gender at all?
Non-binary, also known as genderqueer (GQ), is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Those who don’t believe in pronouns, nor have any desire to be marginalized by the system, lean toward non-binary. Essentially, their gender identities are simply a lack of identities.
Those that identify with non-binary genders have an androgynous gender identity, have both identities between male and female, also known as intergender, or have a neutral or unrecognized gender identity, also known as agender or xeno gender.
Also, people that have multiple gender identities, such as bi or pangender, or that are gender fluid also may be considered non-binary. Non-binary people can have any sexual orientation that they so desire, although, if attracted to a particular sex, they may prefer to use gender terminology to express that. That terminology would include androsexual or gynosexual.
Non-binary people often experience prejudice. There are many misconceptions when it comes to the issue. They are often told that they are confused or get treated as though they don’t exist.
That is exactly why the discussion to legally acknowledge non-binary birth certificates is a hot topic at the moment. Those in the non-binary communities want to be recognized for who they are and what they believe, as opposed to being treated as if they were invisible.
Multiple countries legally recognize non-binary or third gender classifications. In some countries, however, only those born with sex characteristics that don’t necessarily fit the male or female body are legally considered non-binary. In other countries, such classifications may only be given to those whose gender identities differ from their sex assigned at birth.
Australia was the first country to recognize a third classification. The United States, specifically Oregon, has a handful of cases in which certain people were allowed to change their gender to non-binary. Currently, filmmakers and activists in Canada have been petitioning the Ontario government to have their freedom to allow those who choose to consider themselves non-binary, to do so legally.
Right now, activists in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, are filing applications with the Supreme Court, challenging the change of sex designation provision of the Vital Statistics Act. They are saying that it is unconstitutional and violates provincial and federal human rights legislation. Forcing people to choose between male and female when they don’t identify with those categories is believed to be discriminatory and can lead to uncomfortable situations.
As those who are non-binary patiently await their governments to acknowledge their sex, or lack thereof, you can find out more about birth certificates and what it takes to reissue one.
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