Ballot Measure 2H challenges ideas of gender identity

A mail-in ballot. (Kai Casey/CU Independent File)

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Ballot Measure 2H will ask Boulder residents if the term “gender identity” should replace “sex” on ballots.

If successful, the amendment to Ordinance 8271 will prompt voters to specify their “gender identity,” marking a growing acceptance of inclusive, gender-neutral terminology. 

The distinction between sex and gender is often misunderstood. Sex refers specifically to physical anatomy. Gender, on the other hand, is an individual’s concept of themselves, whether within a male/female binary or existing outside the binary. Sometimes a person’s assigned sex will not line up with their gender identity.

The amendment will allow people who feel they don’t identify with the sex they were born with to better explain who they are. It also allows people to feel they aren’t “assigned” a gender, but are free to express who they are.

“It’s very validating for people who identify as a different gender than they were born as,” said Romel Powell Serrano, sophomore. “They are heard a lot more by getting that on the ballot.”

Many professors on campus were also inclined to agree with Powell Serrano.

“I think it’s a great idea to bring to Boulder, it is definitely a step forward,” said Robert Pasnau, the faculty director of the Center for Western Civilization, Thought & Policy.

Jessica Wise, a scholar in residence for the Center for Western Civilization, Thought & Policy, is glad to have the chance to increase representation.

“There are a number of students who want availability and access to be more represented, not lost in a system who doesn’t recognize them,” Wise said.

By placing measure 2H on the ballot, it opens up a community conversation about evolving ideas surrounding gender and sex.

“Having the discussion about [the difference between gender and sex] is a tremendous step forward,” Wise said. “I think Boulder is much further down the line where people are commonly agreeing gender and sexuality are different things.”

For more information contact CU Independent news reporter Lizzie Weiler at elizabeth.weiler@colorado.edu.

Senior News Editor Bri Barnum contributed reporting to this article.

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