Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) officials are attempting to make it easier for Silver State residents to change their gender on their driver’s licenses and ID cards. The move is an effort to ease burdens on the state’s transgender population who may not identify with the sex they were born with.
At a Feb. 15 DMV hearing, officials signaled their intent to allow Nevadans to self-select a male or female sex designation on their identification cards and driver’s licenses when applying for or renewing them.
Previously, if the gender a person identified with differed from their sex at birth, DMV officials required a physician’s note in order to change it. Though, in an era of increasing awareness about transgender issues, that practice has become outdated, said Alex Smith, a DMV public information officer.
“It's 2018. A lot of things are changing. We really like to be proactive. We are working closely with the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] and other partners to make sure that this is something everybody has equal and fair rights to,” Smith said.
The Nevada ACLU came out in support of the measure in a Feb. 15 post from policy director Holly Welborn. The reason for the group’s report, Welborn wrote, was “simple.”
“Having an ID card that doesn’t match a person’s gender identity can be dangerous,” she wrote. “It can lead to severe consequences, including economic marginalization, assault and violence, and the denial of health care resulting in serious and negative health outcomes.”
When, for example, police or potential employers conduct driver's license checks, it could expose people to negative or embarrassing situations if the sex on the card is inaccurate, Welborn added.
The Nevada DMV’s proposal echoes those advanced in other states over the past year, including California, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. While other states have allowed for a third gender option, such as “X,” the NV DMV proposal currently restricts residents to selecting “M” or “F.”
The proposal will be forwarded to a Nevada legislative subcommittee where it could become law if approved. No date for its consideration has been set.