Many people do not identify as female or male and prefer a different gender marker. In some jurisdictions, nonbinary individuals can obtain official documents that reflect a nonbinary or third-gender option instead of being limited solely to female or male designations. Governments should recognize nonbinary gender markers for several reasons:
- Inclusivity and equality: Recognizing nonbinary gender markers is crucial to creating a more inclusive society that respects and acknowledges the diversity of human identities. It ensures that individuals who identify as nonbinary are not forced to conform to binary gender norms.
- Human rights: Everyone deserves to have their identity recognized and respected by the government. By identifying nonbinary gender markers, governments can uphold the fundamental human rights of individuals who do not fit within traditional female or male categories.
- Mental health and well-being: Denying recognition of nonbinary genders can lead to feelings of marginalization and invalidation for those who identify as such. These experiences can have detrimental effects on mental health and overall well-being. Recognizing nonbinary gender markers helps create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
- Data collection: Accurate data collection is essential for effective policy-making regarding healthcare, education, employment, and social services. By recognizing nonbinary genders on official documents like identification cards or passports, governments can ensure that data accurately reflects the diverse population they serve.
- International recognition: A small but growing number of countries in all parts of the world recognize nonbinary gender identities. Countries such as Argentina, Malta, and Nepal lead the way with “X” or other nonbinary gender markers available to everyone based on self-determination. Over a dozen other countries provide for “X” markers in some jurisdictions or under some circumstances. For instance, some require court orders or only provide nonbinary markers to intersex people based on a medicalized model.
- Progression toward equality: Eliminating binary options on identity documents demonstrates a commitment to equality. It sends a powerful message that society is willing to adapt and accommodate the needs of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.