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D.C. to Add Non-Binary Gender Option for Driver’s Licenses

By: Ryan Gallagher June 29, 2017
Washington, D.C.'s DMV will allow drivers to select a third gender on their licenses.

The Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will now offer a third, or “non-binary,” gender option for licenses and identification cards. This decision follows Oregon’s precedent after its DMV introduced a third gender option earlier this month.

Now, when D.C. residents apply for a license or ID card, they will be asked to specify “M,” “F,” or “X.” Customers at the D.C. DMV can make note of their preferred gender and will not need to show confirmation from a medical provider or legal service.

The change went into effect this Monday after an announcement from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office.

Following Bowser’s action, D.C. Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau introduced gender-neutral legislation last week in hopes for a more permanent change to Washington D.C. laws.

“Councilmember Nadeau’s [bill] would make this change permanent in the D.C. Code,” said Nadeau’s communications director Thomas Fazzini. “Since the Mayor’s change is administrative, it could be undone by a future administration, however unlikely that may be.”

It is unknown how much funding D.C.’s non-binary gender project will need. However, Oregon put aside $440,000 in order to update their computer system as well as all records for state offices. Whatever the funding requirements, a recent study found that Washington, D.C. ranks highest for urban areas in percentage of transgender people, with 2.77% of the population identifying as such. There is no other U.S. state with a transgender percentage over 1%—Oregon’s transgender population reaches just .65%.

“The District [of Columbia] has always sought to be a safe and welcoming place for our LGBTQ community, and today we are continuing to deliver on that legacy," Nadeau said. “Gender is a spectrum and some of our residents do not identify as male or female. Current licenses force residents to conform to genders that don't accurately reflect their identity.”

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