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Democrats Adopt New Policies Recognizing Nonbinary People Ahead of 2020 Election

New policies adopted by the Democratic National Committee paved the way for recognition of nonbinary identities in party leadership for the first time.

During its summer meeting in Chicago, the Democratic party adopted rules to its charter on Saturday allowing transgender subcommittee members to self-identify their gender. The amendments also permit representatives to DNC subcommittees to identify themselves as neither male nor female.

While the inclusive bylaws require committees be “equally divided… between men and women,” gender nonbinary members will be counted separately. This population accounts for estimated 25 to 35 percent of the trans community.

DNC Chair Tom Perez claimed the changes illustrate the Democratic party’s “commitment to inclusion and opportunity.”

“By adopting this amendment, the Democratic National Committee is ensuring every Democrat feels welcome and embraced for who they are,” Perez told CNN in a statement. “This action reaffirms our solidarity with the LGBTQ community and challenges governments, employers, and organizations across the country to do the same.”

Jason Rae, the DNC secretary who authored the amendment, added that these guidelines will encourage the full participation of trans people in the DNC.

“I think it’s not only significant for the DNC, but I think it’s significant for the LGBT community,” Rae claimed. “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.”

Around 500 people gathered for this weekend’s convening, in which DNC members also approved a groundbreaking decision weakening the role of superdelegates in selecting the party’s presidential candidate.

Around 15 percent of DNC delegates are known as “superdelegates,” a pool of appointed officials given extraordinary weight in selecting the quadrennial Democratic nominee. As of the 2020 election, these delegates will have to wait until the second round of voting to weigh in with their preferred candidate.

The role of superdelegates in the DNC became a controversial issue in 2016 when Bernie Sanders supporters claimed they helped hand victory to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. Clinton won 80 percent of superdelegates.

After the changes were announced, Perez claimed it was a “historic” day for the Democratic party as it gears up for another election.

“We passed major reforms that will not only put our next presidential nominee in the strongest position possible, but will help us elect Democrats up and down the ballot, across the country,” he said in a statement. “These reforms will help grow our party, unite Democrats, and restore voters’ trust by making our 2020 nominating process the most inclusive and transparent in our history.”

Image via Getty


Nico Lang

Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.