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2020 contender Kirsten Gillibrand backs third gender classification at federal level

Somersworth, N.H. — New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 candidate, endorsed federal implementation of a third gender listing for Americans who identify as non-binary. Speaking at an LGBTQ-focused meet and greet in New Hampshire on Friday, Gillibrand emphatically said "yes" about recognizing "X" as a third gender marker. 

Palana Belken, a transgender woman and organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, asked Gillibrand the question and applauded her quick answer.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the U.S., non-binary is an "adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman."  

Belken said her question originated from the efforts of New Hampshire State Rep. Gerri Cannon, a transgender lawmaker who recently introduced two similar identification bills at the state level to present this third option on birth certificates and driver's licenses.

The potential federal change is important, Cannon said, because states have differing implementation of the "X" identifier.

"Right now, especially non-binary people, when they go to one state to another some state trooper may take a look at a license with an 'X' on it and go, 'What is this?'" Cannon said. 

A handful of states, including Maine, Oregon, California and Colorado, plus the District of Columbia and New York City, recognize a third option for gender identity.

Gillibrand is on a campaign swing through New Hampshire this weekend, with stops Saturday in Exeter, Keene and Hanover.

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