Tomorrow the District of Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in the United States to issue driver's licenses with a non-binary gender option of X.
The D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles worked with the National Center for Transgender Equality to implement the new option. It follows a wave of court orders in the past year that have designated at least 20 people legally non-binary, challenging the available options for gender on identification documents.
Washington, DC has long been a leader in LGBTQ rights and gender issues, and this change is the most recent example of our city’s commitment to inclusivity.
The safety and well-being of all Washingtonians is my top priority, and whenever we are presented with an opportunity to improve the lives of residents and better align our policies with DC values, I will take it. I hope to see other jurisdictions follow in our footsteps.
--Mayor Muriel Bowser
The DC DMV is closed today so the new policy begins tomorrow.
Elizabeth Ehret, a legal fellow with Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps at Whitman Walker Health started working for the change with a client at the facility in February.
Ehret said the new option will be important for D.C. residents who currently use an ID that is incompatible with their appearance or identity. Doing so, she said, can put trans and non-binary people at risk for harassment or violence.
People are going to have access to a gender marker that actually matches their gender identity.
Next month Oregon is set to make the same change.
The Oregon DMV met with other state agencies and non-binary residents before its transportation commission unanimously voted this month to approve the new option. In JUne of 2016 Jamie Shupe became the first legally non-binary person in the US.
Other residents of Oregon and California have followed suit.
Legislators on California are considering SB-179, which would allow a nonbinary option for both DMV and birth certificate purposes. It passed the state Senate last month.
I literally fled to Oregon, because I felt not only unsafe, but I also felt just flat out unwelcome on the East Coast as a non-binary transgender person. D.C., the place of my birth, has given me tears of joy by their actions.