A petition to make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK has reached more than 100,000 signatures. Here is everything you need to know about the petition, including what non-binary is and the significance of 100,000 signatures

What does non-binary mean?

 non-binary petition
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Non-binary is a term people use to describe genders that don’t fall into the category of male or female. Being non-binary is not the same as being intersex, and it is also nothing new, as non-binary identities have been recognised across the world going back centuries. Despite this, many people still do not know a lot about what it means to be Non-binary.

What is the petition for?

 non-binary petition
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Despite a notable proportion of the world’s population being non-binary, this is not recognised on legal forms, such as passports, driving licenses and job applications. The petition is asking the government to officially recognise non-binary and make it a legal and valid gender identity option.

The creators of the petition also feel that recognising non-binary as a valid gender identity would help protect individuals who are non-binary against transphobic hate crimes and Gender Dysphoria.

Back in 2018, there was a consultation on whether the Gender Recognition Certificate should be altered to include people that are non-binary. However, the government did not suggest adding non-binary as a legal gender as they felt it would complicate other areas of the law, service provision and public life.

This petition is very reasonable, and already most Australian territories, Malta, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Uruguay, all legally recognise non-binary as a gender. Meanwhile, other countries like Denmark, New Zealand, and a few USA states, offer an X gender option on their legal documents.

How many signatures does it have?

 non-binary petition
Credit: Petition Parliament

At the time of the publication of this article, the petition had more than 133,000 signatures. This is a significant amount more than the 100,000 needed to get the petition into Parliament.

All petitions run for six months, so we expect the number of signatures to continue increasing. If you want to sign the petition and haven’t done so already, all you need to do is click here.

Why are 100,000 signatures important?

non-binary petition
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Once a petition has 10,000 signatures, it will receive a response from the government. However, once a petition reaches 100,000 signatures, Parliament has to consider the petition. They will do this via a debate, which usually takes a few days for the debate to be scheduled.

Is this the first petition to make non-binary a legal gender?

This is not the first petition to try and make non-binary a legally recognised identity, but it is the first one to reach more than 100,000 signatures. In 2019, the petition ‘Allow people to identify outside of ‘male’ and ‘female’ on legal documentation’ only received 20,600 signatures. Similarly, in 2020 a petition asking for a gender-neutral option to be added on passports, such as an X, only received 3,321 signatures.