Maine Becomes Third State to Embrace “X” Identities

By: Bridget Clerkin June 22, 2018
Maine residents will soon have the opportunity to declare a non-binary gender on their driver's licenses and ID cards.
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Following a recent ruling in New England, an increasing number of Americans will get the opportunity to sport an identification card they can actually identify with.

Maine became the third state in the union to allow residents the option of choosing a non-binary gender on their licenses and IDs. The move brings the Pine Tree State in line with California, Washington, D.C., and Oregon—the first state to introduce the option.

Those who wish to go by the third gender status will see an “X” on their IDs, rather than the traditional “M” or “F.” For now, Maine residents will receive a sticker reading, “Gender has been changed to: X – Non-binary.”

The state will start printing licenses and IDs with the “X” on them in July 2019.

The change came to the northeastern state after resident Ian-Meredythe Dehne Lindsey, who prefers the pronoun “they,” filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission. Dehne Lindsey reported that they were turned down when requesting a non-binary gender option for their driver’s license, due to inadequate computer systems at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

Still, following the petition, the BMV will get an upgrade to include the third selection.

The news came as a “relief” to Dehne Lindsey, though they said the ruling is about much more than themselves.

“Having the sticker validates my existence,” they told the Portland Press Herald. “It was extremely important for me and for non-binary individuals in general. It shows that we’re human beings and worthy of being recognized.

The trend toward greater gender options began last year in Oregon, when resident Jamie Shupe lobbied the state’s DMV to include a third option for them (also Shupe’s preferred pronoun).

And Maine may not be where the movement ends. An ongoing federal legal battle over the option for a non-binary passport picked back up again last month in Colorado.

A victory for intersex person Dana Zzyym, who brought the suit, could possibly pave the way for a third gender box to check on federal identifications, offering more options for residents across the country.

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