A growing number of people are opting to identify their gender as “X” on official documents rather than selecting the more traditional “M” or “F” for male or female. And it is legal where it is occurring.

Beginning tomorrow Canadians can obtain passports that identify their gender as “X.” Oregon already offers a third gender option for driver’s licenses. That option is “X.”
Oregon became the first state in the nation to allow that residents to use an “X” to describe their gender on a license.

Not be outdone, California is now considering legislation, SB179 that would allow “X” as a gender option for all state ID’s including a driver’s license. The measure has already been approved by the California Senate and is awaiting action in the California Assembly according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

So, why is it necessary for people to be able to list themselves as “nonbinary” on their official ID? Dee Shull, who is “gender fluid” tells the Chronicle;

“It is liberating to be able to say, ‘Yes, this is who I am,’ and ‘Yes, my state documentation matches that.”

For those who may be struggling with the terms “nonbinary” and “gender fluid,” I include definitions of each from the on-line URBAN DICTIONARY;

“NONBINARY”
Nonbinary refers to any gender that is not exclusively male or female. A similar term is genderqueer. Some common nonbinary gender identities include: agender, bigender, genderfluid, androgyne, and neutrois. It is usually considered to be under the transgender umbrella, and some nonbinary people will also identify as trans.
Fallon: You’re not a girl or a boy, are you?
Skylar: Nope, I’m not! I’m nonbinary.
#transgender#nonbinary#genderqueer#trans#agender#bigender#genderfluid#androgyne
by kyerowan January 16, 2014

″GENDER FLUID”
Gender Fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days. Being Gender Fluid has nothing to do with which set of genitalia one has, nor their sexual orientation.
No, I’m not a boy, and I’m not a girl either. I am gender fluid.
#gender fluid#genderqueer#androgyne#bigender#gender
by SonicJMC January 21, 2007

In considering whether this is good policy or bad policy just think about why gender was included on official ID’s in the first place. One has to assume it had something to do with security, right? Along with the name and photo it help police or others to properly identify the ID holder.This could really mess things up at last call at the local watering hole!

Call me old fashioned, but I think we should simplify a lot of things. If you are born with male genitalia you are listed as “M” on your official ID, and when you are born with female genitalia you get identified with an “F.” Perhaps if you are born with both you get an “X?”

By the way, if Oregon has it, the Canadians are doing it and California is considering it, it won’t be long before the Massachusetts Legislature begins thinking about it too. And you can bet that once it does – Governor Charlie Baker will be ready with a pen to sign it into law. I wonder if he’ll sign using an “X?”

Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.