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DNC Abandons Rule Requiring Gender Parity on Committees to Accommodate Non-Binary Members

DNC Chairman Tom Perez listens to a speaker as he chairs an executive committee meeting at the Democratic National Committee Summer Meeting in Chicago, Ill., August 23, 2018. (Daniel Acker/Reuters)

Members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted on Saturday to modify its charter to define gender as being determined by self-identification and to include a classification for gender non-binary members.

The previous charter required that all committees be divided evenly between men and women but, under the newly adopted system, committees “shall be as equally divided as practicable between men and women (determined by gender self-identification) meaning that the variance between men and women in the group cannot exceed one (1).”

Additionally, gender non-binary members will count as neither male nor female, while the remaining, gendered members will be divided evenly between male and female.

“At the root of our diverse party is a commitment to inclusion and opportunity,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement to CNN. “By adopting this amendment, the Democratic National Committee is ensuring every Democrat feels welcome and embraced for who they are. This action reaffirms our solidarity with the LGBTQ community and challenges governments, employers, and organizations across the country to do the same.”

Potential delegates and party members will no longer be required to identify as male or female to join the party, a development that DNC officials claim will broaden participation in party activities.

“I think it’s not only significant for the DNC, but I think it’s significant for the LGBT community,” DNC Secretary Jason Rae, who helped author the changes, told CNN. “The language that was adopted expands our definition of gender — it includes making sure that we can have gender nonbinary individuals participating fully in our process.”

A number of states, including Vermont, Washington, and Oregon, currently offer a third gender option on official documents such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

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