Friday, April 20, 2018
Nation & World

Californians will soon have nonbinary as a gender option on birth certificates

Californians who don’t identify themselves as male or female will soon be able to get a gender-neutral birth certificate.

Until now, people who wanted to obtain a nonbinary gender designation had to get a physician’s affidavit stating that they had undergone treatment for the purpose of gender transition. That’s what A.T. Furuya, a 35-year-old advocate for transgender youth at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, had to do to become one of the first people in the country to obtain a legally designated gender that is neither male nor female.

The court papers resolving that ordeal in February prompted tears.

"I was shocked," Furuya said. "I was like, ‘Oh my god, this just happened.’"

The physician letters have become a thing of the past in California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Monday that simplifies the process, and provides nonbinary and intersex people with the ability to request a new birth certificate with a third, nonbinary category. It is the first state to offer such an option.

Those who define themselves as nonbinary consider themselves neither male nor female, whereas those who are intersex have atypical sexual anatomy. Both groups have long sought legal documents that represent their identity.

The California law, SB 179, which was written by two Democratic state senators, Toni G. Atkins and Scott D. Wiener, goes into effect starting in 2018.

Oregon and Washington, D.C., have recently offered residents gender-neutral options on driver’s licenses, and the Washington State Department of Health is planning to hold a public hearing this year on the inclusion of a nonbinary option on birth certificates, the public radio station KUOW reported.

For Furuya, having gender-neutral state-issued documentation means no longer being told by doctors or employers that the gender originally indicated on a birth certificate is all that matters.

"They don’t get to decide for you based on what you’re assigned at birth," Furuya said. "Someone can go into a new job as nonbinary and have paperwork to back that up, and there’s no way for the employer to know."

The legislation has faced some resistance. One conservative group expressed concerns that the new law, which eliminates the need for a physician’s letter in support of a gender transition, could lead to identity fraud.

And the California Family Council said the inclusion of a third gender on state documents would create the need for nonbinary sports teams at public schools, at a great expense.

In an opinion article published in the San Diego Union-Tribune in July, the group’s president, Jonathan Keller, warned that if the law were enacted, "California’s nearly 150 public colleges and universities, and all 10,453 public schools would be required to provide not only male and female athletic teams and facilities but nonbinary ones as well," to comply with the Title IX federal civil rights law.

But legal experts and supporters reject that claim.

"It’s a surprising argument to hear because it’s not as if the Department of Education is increasing its enforcement of Title IX as a protector of transgender civil rights," Erin E. Buzuvis, a law professor at Western New England University, said in a phone interview. "The regulations are clearly written with the gender binary in mind."

Kristine E. Newhall, an assistant professor of kinesiology at SUNY Cortland, agreed.

The NCAA doesn’t regulate gender identity for the purposes of being on a team, Newhall said. They use biological markers instead.

"It’s not how you identify in terms of your gender," she said. "You can have that N on your license, and the NCAA doesn’t care about that. They care about whether you’re on hormones or not."

Comments
Doctor who treated Prince to pay $30K fine

Doctor who treated Prince to pay $30K fine

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota doctor who allegedly knew painkillers he prescribed for Prince’s drummer would be used by the musician has agreed to a civil settlement with federal prosecutors to resolve possible controlled substance violations found durin...
Published: 04/19/18
Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

PHILADELPHIA — Rashon Nelson initially brushed it off when the Starbucks manager told him he couldn’t use the restroom because he wasn’t a paying customer. He thought nothing of it when he and his business partner, Donte Robinson, were approached at ...
Published: 04/19/18
She shared drug-smuggling vacation on social media. Now ‘Cocaine Babe’ is off to prison.

She shared drug-smuggling vacation on social media. Now ‘Cocaine Babe’ is off to prison.

A Canadian woman who tried to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine into Australia has been convicted and sentenced to eight years behind bars.Melina Roberge, 24, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to smuggling 95 kilos (209 pounds)...
Published: 04/19/18
She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board."Southwest 1380, we’re single engine," Capt. Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, said. "We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re goin...
Published: 04/18/18
Trump says U.S. wants meeting with Kim Jong Un to be ‘worldwide success’

Trump says U.S. wants meeting with Kim Jong Un to be ‘worldwide success’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the United States will be doing "everything possible" to make an upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a "worldwide success." The president said at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime M...
Published: 04/18/18
Pilot who landed damaged Southwest jet ‘just had to fly’

Pilot who landed damaged Southwest jet ‘just had to fly’

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board."Southwest 1380, we’re single engine," Capt. Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, said. "We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re goin...
Published: 04/18/18
Diaz-Canel will replace Raul Castro as leader of Cuba

Diaz-Canel will replace Raul Castro as leader of Cuba

HAVANA — Cuba on Wednesday selected 57-year-old First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as sole candidate to succeed Raul Castro as president of Cuba, the centerpiece of an effort to ensure that the country’s single-party system outlast...
Published: 04/18/18
Island-wide blackout hits Puerto Rico; officials probe cause

Island-wide blackout hits Puerto Rico; officials probe cause

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — An island-wide blackout has hit Puerto Rico, which is struggling with an increasingly unstable power grid nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory. Electric Power Authority spokeswoman Yohari Molina tel...
Published: 04/18/18

Presidents, first ladies praise Barbara Bush’s dedication

HOUSTON — Presidents, first ladies and many others who knew Barbara Bush are praising her devotion to the nation, her family and literacy. President Donald Trump said among Mrs. Bush’s greatest achievements "was recognizing the importance of literacy...
Published: 04/18/18
Grandma and Grandpa outdrinking the kids

Grandma and Grandpa outdrinking the kids

Experts on alcohol abuse have found one demographic group that’s drinking at an alarming rate. Not teenagers. Not college-age people. It’s baby boomers.For reasons not well understood, teenage and college-age Americans today are consuming alcohol at ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/19/18