By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com March 20 2014 1:37 PM ET
A White House petition to legally recognize non-binary genders started last month is gathering steam, though it may fall short of acquiring the 100,000 signatures needed to garner a response from the White House. The petition currently has more than 47,000 signatures, but needs roughly 53,000 additional names on board before the close of the petition tomorrow to prompt an official response.
"Legal documents in the United States only recognize 'male' and 'female' as genders, leaving anyone who does not identify as one of these two genders with no option," the petition reads. "Australia and New Zealand both allow an 'X' in place of an 'M' or an 'F' on passports for this purpose, and the UK recognizes 'Mx' (pronounced 'Mix') as a gender-neutral title."
The petition popped up mere weeks after Facebook announced its own expansion of available gender options; a move resulting in both praise and ridicule for the social media giant.
Nonbinary individuals may identify as both male and female, neither male nor female, a mix of both, or something else entirely. Some examples of nonbinary gender identities include agender, androgyne, bigender, genderqueer, and pangender. For example, Tom Phelan of ABC Family's The Fosters identifies as nonbinary.
People identifying outside the gender binary are statistically more likely to be unemployed, have experienced physical assault, or have been denied medical care than their binary-identifying transgender counterparts, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.