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Washington to add non-binary X option to driving licenses

Vic Parsons August 1, 2019
washington non-binary ID

A potential sample Washington driver's license, which recently announced plans to offer the option. (Department of Licensing)

The state of Washington could be the 17th US state to add the non-binary gender option X to driving licenses and other state ID documents.

The change would bring Washington drivers licenses in line with birth certificates in the state, which in January 2018 added an X option for those who don’t identify as male or female.

The rule change allowing an X gender marker on driving licenses was proposed earlier this year.

Washington state governor Jay Inslee said in an online statement that the rule change was “the latest step in the state’s efforts for inclusion rights.”

“The final, big step of the process takes place in August when DOL [Department of Licensing] holds a series of public hearings,” Inslee said, adding that the change could be implemented “as soon as October.”

“It’s imperative of our government to include as many people as possible so that people actually feel like they’re part of society, and that they’re seen and heard,” said Elayne Wylie, co-executive director of Gender Justice League.

“We’re addressing the violence that people experience for being their most authentic selves,” Wylie said. “We’re addressing … the discrimination that still exists in 2019 just for … being trans and trying to be an employee, or to get a job, or to find housing, or to access healthcare.”

Teresa Berntsen, the director of Washington’s DOL, said, “Identity is a fundamental human right.”

“We, as the Department of Licensing, serve every Washington resident. And the driver’s license or the state-issued ID cards are your primary identification documents. So by us acknowledging there are more than two forms of gender, we are acknowledging basic human rights,” Berntsen said.

Non-binary gender option added to Pennsylvania driving licenses

If the state of Washington passes the rule change in August, it will join Pennsylvania and 15 other US states in offering gender-neutral gender markers on official state documents.

Pennsylvania became the latest US state to offer an X option on driving licenses today (August 1).

More: Gender Justice League, Washington state

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