As part of a new policy for 2018-19, D.C. will soon have students registering as non-binary on enrolment forms as the city widens options of gender beyond just male and female.
The new policy comes after D.C. City Council passed legislation in September this year which requires issuance of non-binary licenses and IDs by the Department of Motor Vehicle.
Non-binary “X” sex markers have been added to ID cards by several states and cities. But such markers are rare on school enrollment forms.
From September this year, Oregon allowed students and staff to identify as non-binary on official records, becoming the first state to do so.
“For students, teachers, and staff to be successful, they must be safe in their school environment. This change in data collection practice is a step towards gender inclusivity and follows recent moves by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Legislature to recognise and allow for a non-binary option for drivers licenses, identification cards and birth certificates,” said Marc Siegal, Director Oregon Department of Education communications, pointing out a memo released earlier in June by the agency.
More school districts are expected to follow D.C. and Oregon. Residents in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New York City and Washington can opt out of gender using an ‘X’ marker on IDs or birth certificates.
“DCPS’ vision is that every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life. We value the whole child at DCPS and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families,” said Amanda Alexander, interim chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). “Whether through policies, programs, affinity groups, or our enrolment forms, DCPS is proud to be a leader in affirming, supporting, and welcoming LGBTQ students.”
DCPS spokesperson said that the agency and local LGBTQ advocates are working together to improve the enrollment forms, adding that the new policy has not received any backlash or opposition
“The change to the school enrollment process is part of a broader effort to ensure government forms are accessible and improve how we serve DC residents,” said the spokesperson.
Non-binary ID’s are recognized both at the federal and local level.