Starting July 1, new parents in Wisconsin can choose gender neutral language on their baby’s birth certificate, with the option to ditch “mom” and “dad” for the much more modern and gender-inclusive “parents.”
The Hill reports that Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services and governor Tony Evers announced on Tuesday that in addition to the option to chose “parent-parent,” birth forms will also include the term “parent giving birth,” which recognizes that a spectrum of individuals can give birth and not just “mothers.” Forms will also soon be available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.
“This change reflects my and my administration’s commitment to gender-neutral terminology and to recognizing that Wisconsin families are diverse and should be valued and respected,” Evers told Fox News.
Wisconsin’s move to expand the language of birth certificates to honor a range of families that don’t fit a cis, heterosexual nuclear mold stands in stark opposition to bills in other states that have previously attempted to make birth certificates a political battleground, where cultural debates over so-called family values have long been fought. In 2016 a pair of Illinois lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would block mothers from receiving a birth certificate for their newborn if they did not list the father. (It was swiftly killed.) The following year, Florida governor Rick Scott signed a law that made Florida the first state to offer birth certificates for miscarriages.
But the tide is beginning to turn: Wisconsin follows several other states who have adopted gender-neutral terminology on birth forms and certificates. In 2017 California became the first state to offer a gender-neutral option on birth certificates, and also allowed residents to identify as a gender other than “F” or “M” on driver licenses. New York City currently offers that ability to choose an “X” gender on birth certificates, and New Jersey allows parents to choose “female, male, or undesignated/nonbinary” on birth certificates.