California Legalizes Third Gender Option

Kilee McAtee, Staff Writer, Copy Editor

On Oct. 15, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new legislation that allows residents of California to select a gender option other than male or female on official state documents. This gender option would be for people who identify as gender non binary.

“Non binary is a gender identity in which you don’t feel like you are a man or a woman,” said freshman Axel Blake. “To me, [non binary] means that I get to be myself while still having a term to identify as. I think that the legalization of a third gender option provides more visibility for non binary people instead of forcing them into certain labels.”

According to a 2016 survey, 0.76 percent of California adults identify as transgender, which is roughly over 288,000 people. Similarly, according to The New York Times, one in every 137 children would identify as transgender. It is worth noting that in these surveys, people who identify as non-binary are included under the term transgender.

In a survey conducted with 15 members of Vista’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), only five of the surveyed people identify as cisgender, meaning their gender identity aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth. Four of the surveyed members identify as transgender, meaning the gender they identify with is the opposite of the gender they were assigned at birth, and four of the surveyed people identify as gender non binary, meaning that they don’t fall under the typical two gender binary. Two people listed themselves under an “other” category.

“For me, I know I don’t identify as female or male,” said a student at Vista who identifies as non-binary and wishes to remain anonymous. “I just don’t feel like either of them…Being able to have the gender that you identify as on your driver’s licence and other papers makes everyone feel more accepted. It makes me feel safer and more free to be myself.”

“I feel that more people will be accepted for who they are,” says freshman Alyssa Freitas. “If people have the option, there will be more awareness for it. I don’t think that gender should be a thing that you have to legalize and make laws for or against.”

Vista del Lago’s GSA and school administration have done a great job recognizing non binary genders by using gender inclusive language and terms to help everyone, regardless of gender identity, feel comfortable, and it looks like that inclusivity is only going up from here.