Washington, D.C. to include gender-neutral markers on identification and drivers’ licenses
by Arli Christian, State Policy Counsel
On June 26, 2017, the District of Columbia will become the first jurisdiction include a gender-neutral marker on its driver’s licenses and identification cards. The new gender designation — an X marker — provides an option in addition to M (male) or F (female) on D.C.-issued identification. This new policy was developed and approved by the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and announced by the Mayor’s office earlier this week. A councilmember also introduced a bill to memorialize the new policy in D.C. Code. D.C.’s gender-neutral marker comes on the heels of a similar commitment by the state of Oregon, which announced they will issue gender-neutral markers in July.
Why is the new D.C. DMV policy so important?
The gender-neutral marker (X) provides an important option for nonbinary people — folks whose gender is neither male nor female. A gender-neutral option allows nonbinary people to display a more accurate gender marker on their IDs; and for people of any gender to have increased privacy around gender on their state-issued IDs.
The new policy also allows all applicants to self-report gender as M, F or X, and no longer requires a medical or mental health provider to attest to the gender marker. Self-reported gender markers are the most accurate way to ensure that identification documents have the proper marker for each individual, and removes barriers faced by people with limited access to medical providers.
Many jurisdictions worldwide already have similar policies, including Canada, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal. By adding a gender-neutral option and removing provider certifications, these new gender change policies ensures transgender and nonbinary individuals have better access to accurate IDs for use in their daily lives. Oregon and D.C.’s policies are the new gold standard for access to accurate gender markers on identification in the United States.
For D.C. residents interested in obtaining a gender-neutral marker on their ID, the forms will be available on the D.C. DMV website next week. To be among the first to get receive a gender-neutral marker, sign up for a community outing to the DMV, the morning of Tuesday, June 27.
“We are thrilled to see DC and Oregon leading the way in advancing identity document policies which allow for transgender and nonbinary people, including those who are non-binary, to have accurate ID that helps them function in their day to day lives. This is a tremendous first step, which acknowledges the experiences and humanity of a growing segment of the population.” — NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling
NCTE was honored to work alongside other advocates on these advancements and looks forward to other states passing similar measures in the months ahead. If you have additional questions, please see our FAQ on gender-neutral IDs. For more information about the gender change policies in your state, see NCTE’s ID Document Center.