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Neither Male Nor Female: ‘Nonbinary’ People See Hope In California Bill

 July 3, 2017 at 7:49 AM PDT

It's time for another installment of our series 1st person stories of people told in their own voice. The gender recognition act is a bill in Sacramento offered by Tony Adkins that would allow people to choose a third gender option called non-binary on drivers licenses and other documents. It would acknowledge that some people in California don't identify as either male or female. KPBS has this account from someone who identifies as non-binary. My name is David and identify as non-binary gender. The first word we have to talk about is the word binary. That is referring to the social cultural mandate. There are only two ways. Man or woman so being non-binary is basically not identifying with man or woman. I'm like not a man or woman. There are times where have all this makeup on with the beard and there are times when I'm in a dress and no makeup and other times when I'm totally itched out and have facial hair. So it really just depends on the day. I do not feel like just a boy who wears makeup and that's why I'm gender [ NULL ] . It is something much more internal. It's a reflection of that. We are at Babycakes right now in Hillcrest. I started playing with makeup two years ago when I was first going out with makeup this is where I would go because I wanted to be safe and comfortable. Is sort of a haven in a safe place for me to explore why felt like I was becoming. It is replicating the idea that I'm not a man or woman so I'm still -- instead of using he or she you would use they because it implies the existence of multiple things with an one person. I love how punk rock it is because it is so undermining so many things and that's exactly what non-binary is. It is a direct challenge to this institution ideas that we've had for a long time. I grew up in a very conservative closed off sheltered part of Wisconsin. For my family, they were incredibly uncomfortable with the makeup for a long time. I would post pictures and my mother would text me and tell me to take them down. So it took them a while. I did not have this non-binary conversation with my family until last Thanksgiving. Once I explained to them that I just don't feel like I'm a man or woman, I think they really got it because I think anybody who actually knows me or who has known me for a long time would hear that insane that makes sense. It is pretty much what the reaction was. If the gender recognition act was passed, that would be a level of legitimacy and recognition on the institutional level. I would love to be able to have non-binary on my drivers license. I think what it would mean most to me is it is really bringing us out into the open and making us a visible on a level that other people who maybe would not view non-binary would go wait a minute maybe this is an actual thing. It would be a huge powerful institutional level statement of non-binary people exist and are real and not everybody has a choice of two boxes. That was David Vance speaking about non-binary gender identity to go the gender recognition act passed it is in assembly currently.

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A bill in Sacramento, authored by Senator Toni Atkins, would allow people to choose a third gender option, "nonbinary," on state documents. KPBS spoke with one person who identifies as nonbinary to see what the bill would mean to them.