'California is now allowing a third gender option on state identification cards and driver’s licenses, a major win for non-binary people that could pave the way for reforms across the country.
On Wednesday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began issuing IDs to non-binary residents, who aren’t male or female, giving them an “X” marker instead of the traditional “M” or “F”. The new law is part of a recent wave of changes in states throughout the US that have made it easier for transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people to have accurate documents that recognize their identities.
“I’m glad that finally non-binary people are recognized, that we exist,” said Alon Altman, who is genderqueer and was one of the first people in line on Wednesday morning to get their new ID. Altman, who uses gender-neutral “they/them” pronouns, said the document provided a formal rebuttal to bigoted people who continue to assert that “there are only two genders”: “Now, I have an official paper that says no.”
Oregon became the first state to adopt the “X” marker for state IDs in 2017, and a number of states and cities have since followed suit and also adopted new rules to allow non-binary people to have gender-neutral markers on their birth certificates. At the same time, there have been legal battles and legislative efforts across the globe aimed at allowing non-binary passports. Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada and other countries have implemented changes, but the US government has not.
Having the correct gender on a state ID can help non-binary and trans people in their daily interactions and transactions where they may be misgendered or denied basic recognition, whether at work, a bar, a doctor’s office, a bank, a police station or any other place where people have to show ID.'
Read more: ‘We exist’: California begins issuing state IDs with a third gender option
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