Gender X is Now an Option
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Bridging the Gender Gap With An X

States are finally allowing people to have the option to identify as neither male or female, but as X. A nonbinary gender option. And it's about freaking time.

Bridging the Gender Gap With An X
Photo Courtesy: Benson Kua

After 17 years of struggle, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which will provide protections based on their perceived or actual gender identity or status. New York is finally seeing "transgender" and "non-binary" people as equal and deserving of rights, but the "third" or "X" gender is not a new concept when it comes to Transgender rights, New York has finally jumped on the bandwagon.

Gender X is undefined; it is not male, it is not female, it does not even have to land on the scale of gender. X is for each person who feels disconnected to a specific gender, for the person who is disillusioned with the binary.

While New York has created laws protecting against sexual orientation discrimination, they are behind states like Utah and Iowa in the protection of transgender residents, and behind states like Oregon and Minnesota in recognizing the "X" gender.

Early laws made it easy for anyone to discriminate against multiple parts of a transgender person's life. The lack of protection prevented them from job security, getting married, or dying. While some states did protect forms transgender rights, New York did not give this security.

New York is considered the forefront of social rights and freedoms. Though the central hub of abolitionism and the birth of the gay rights movement with Stonewall Inn, the state could not be further from the front of this movement. With most other states (including some southern states) having some sort of protection for transgender residents New York had been dragging its feet.

Early laws made it easy for anyone to discriminate against multiple parts of a transgender person's life. The lack of protection prevented them from job security, getting married, or dying. While some states did protect forms transgender rights, New York did not give this security.

Dating back to 2003 there was a push to outlaw conversion therapy, and yet it didn't happen. The overwhelmingly conservative Senate kept the bill dead in the water until January. As time continued, and the hope of a blue senate grew, these bills changed to include any form of gender discrimination as a hate crime. Now, GENDA has outlawed conversion therapy in the state of New York, regarding it as child abuse.

Many people see the issue of transgender rights as a new concept, but the lack of binary is something that can relate back to the Native Americans, as tribes saw many of these transgendered people as niizh manidoowag or two-spirited. There are even depictions in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa of a Goddess referred to as "The Great Mother," an intersex deity who held the highest wisdom. Native American transgender freedoms have been used as a model for legislation, and the rights of androgynous persons have started to become more recognized.

It was not until the Western world and the Church got involved, that transgender people began to conform to what is seen as "classic" gender roles. This discrimination spread all over the world and became ingrained in "modern western culture", even today transgender people are persecuted or killed for attempting to be comfortable in their own skin.

Now that we are beginning to realize that transgender people are human beings, we understand that we have to treat them as such. People bridging the gender gap should have the freedom to be themselves and safety to do so.

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