Sen. Amy Klobuchar Supports Recognizing ‘3rd Gender Markers’ on a Federal Level

By Melanie Arter | October 11, 2019 | 3:31pm EDT
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images)

( – Besides male and female, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Thursday that she’s in favor of recognizing a third gender on a federal level.

At CNN’s presidential town hall on LGBTQ equality, Oscar Buckwald, who identifies as “non-binary,” asked, “In California I am able change any gender to ‘X,’ However, on the federal level, there is no such option. Will you recognize third gender markers on a federal level?”


“Yes, thank you, I will, and I think there's also -- you know, I think that there is a lot of work we need to do, all over the country, with driver's licenses as you know, not every state has some of the provisions that California have in place and just work on a state by state basis to make those changes,” Klobuchar said.

“Let me ask you about this. We've been hearing a lot of terms. Some of our viewers may be hearing it for the first time tonight and may not understand what they are. Cisgender, non-binary, what responsibility does a president have in increasing awareness and education about these identities? CNN’s Don Lemon asked.



Klobuchar said a president has a big responsibility to increase awareness on gender identity.

“I think a big one, because you want to be able to bring people in. We have a president right now in the White House who spends his time dividing people in any way he can, every single morning writes a tweet going after someone, going after people of color, going after immigrants, going after transpeople,” she said.

“It just never stops, and so I think it's going to be just a complete change to have a new president in place that's putting it mildly, and just changing that culture and changing the tone of our politics, and part of that will be educating people about people's identities and what's happened and where they are because he sure isn't doing that,” the senator said.

“So for the LGBTQ community, these changes might not seem like they're happening fast, but there are many people out there who feel like these changes are happening fast. You have companies, you have places now, people are asking, what is your pronoun? And people may not understand. They may take time for them to catch up. So how do you square that circle?” Lemon asked.

“Because you've got the LGBTQ community saying, hey, listen this is how we want to be respected and then you have other people saying well we're just not used to that, give us a chance. What do you say?” he asked.

“I think you just highlight people, and I think companies actually can be a help on this. Actually, I remember when we had our hateful amendment that was on our ballot that would have banned same sex marriage. When that happened some of our companies actually came out, General Mills and others, came out and said they were against that amendment. I remember when they had protesters at the door they served them coffee and cereal out in their front parking lot," Klobuchar said.

"So I think you could -- it has to be education institutions, companies, and civic groups and elected officials, just have to stand up and explain why this is happening and you don't have to do it in a confrontational way all the time. Some of it is just explaining so people start understanding, and I think we all know the best way that we've been able to move things here is because people always know someone they love or they like. It's either someone in their own family or it is their neighbor, or it's someone at work. And that is what's changed minds," she said.

"I remember when I was the DA, and I got invited, I mentioned because of that hate crimes work to the white house and I met the investigators on the Matthew shepherd case, and I know that Judy is out there somewhere, Matthew's mom. And I met them and the family and I remember them saying one of the cops saying he had been very homophobic. He didn't understand and then he started investigating that case," the senator said.

"Whereas you remember Matthew was left on that fence post, and the person that spotted him thought he was a scare crow and that cop said that it just changed his whole life as he understood that. So I think that's those kinds of experiences hopefully more positive ones where people love people and know people changes their minds and changes their hearts," Klobuchar added.



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