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Biden administration considering adding a third gender option for federal IDs

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Male, female, or X

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The Biden administration expressed openness Monday to the idea of adding a third gender option for federal identification documents, an action pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union so as to not discriminate against nonbinary people.

During Monday's White House press briefing, Jennifer Klein, executive director of the newly launched Gender Policy Council, signaled that the move could soon be in the works and may not require an executive order for implementation.

"Speaking of executive orders on gender equity, the president and the vice president campaigned during the election on giving a third gender option on federal government IDs to individuals who want them," a reporter asked. "Does the president see value in signing an executive order to make that happen?"

In response, Klein said, "I haven't looked yet to see whether that requires an executive order. I mean, I would note that we are very inclusive in our definition of gender, and we intend to address all sorts of discrimination and, you know, fight for equal rights for people, whether that's LGBTQ+ people, women, girls — men. So, you know, that's certainly something that we will look at. But I honestly don't know whether that requires an executive order."

"It sounds like we'll have to just look into it a little bit more and see what's required, but it's a good question," White House press secretary Jen Psaki then interjected.

The ACLU has pushed for the addition of a third gender option on federal IDs, in the form of an "X" designation, as a way to make nonbinary people feel "safe" and accepted. At least 14 states already offer a third gender option on state-issued driver's licenses.

The exchange came following the announcement that President Joe Biden intended to issue two more executive orders, adding to his ever-growing list of executive actions, and with them seeking to advance gender equality both domestically and globally.

The first order allows for the creation of the Gender Policy Council within the executive branch of government, while the second directs the Department of Education to review policies and guidelines changed by the Trump administration.

The Gender Policy Council, the White House explained in a fact sheet, is tasked with recommending to the president a "government-wide strategy to address gender in policies, programs and budgets, and an annual report to measure progress on implementing the strategy."

Its aim is the removal of "systemic bias and discrimination" from society, in general, by addressing "structural barriers to women's participation in the labor force" and decreasing "wage and wealth gaps," along with several other actions.

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