Washington, D.C. to Include Gender-Neutral on Driver’s Licenses

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Washington, D.C. to Include Gender-Neutral on Driver’s Licenses

Arli Christian

Arli Christian, State Policy Counsel, National Center for Transgender Equality (Photo courtesy of NCTE)

Starting on June 26, residents of Washington, D.C. will be able to add “gender-neutral” as a gender identifier on their drivers’ license and state ID. The jurisdiction will join the state of Oregon who previously announced they will also be including the gender-neutral marker on IDs. The option will be available to Oregon drivers and residents in July 2017.

We recently spoke with Arli Christian, the State Policy Counsel for the National Center for Transgender Equality about the new policy. Christian works with advocates to modernize name change laws, state ID regulations, and birth certificate licenses.

She was a key member of the team who worked closely with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to develop this new policy.

“I’m proud to live in D.C. where we have a government that recognizes and respects all identities,” says Christian.

Why is this a victory for the LGBTQ and ally communities?
The D.C. DMV’s policy is groundbreaking for two reasons. First, it provides a gender-neutral option, an X, to display on a D.C. ID. This is so important for non-binary people, folks who do not identify as male or female, as well as important for anyone who wants additional privacy around their gender. Second, it removes the requirement to have a medical or social services provider sign off on a gender change, because we are the most accurate reporters of our own genders.

Do you feel that D.C. will start a domino effect across the country?
Washington, D.C. and Oregon are the first two jurisdictions to start issuing gender-neutral markers on state IDs. We hope this will influence other states and start a trend across the country.

What would you say to people who don’t understand the concept or think it’s “silly?”
Having an ID that accurately reflects who you are is incredibly important to be able to get a job, enroll in school, enter establishments, and otherwise engage in public spaces without unnecessary scrutiny and harassment. A gender-neutral option gives many people the ability to have a more accurate ID to use in their daily lives.

What D.C. area resources do people have to change their name and research more about the gender-neutral licenses?
We have an FAQ about gender-neutral licenses available on NCTE’s website under resources. Here in D.C. we have a wonderful resource to help folks update their IDs. Whitman-Walker Legal Services runs a free name and gender change clinic once a month to help folks get legal name changes and update the gender markers on their IDs.

 

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