Maine to offer third, non-binary gender option on driver’s licenses, IDs

Gender - The Space Between

One of the most difficult challenges for non-binary Americans -- people whose gender identity doesn't fit traditional male/female definitions -- is having to choose one of those two gender options on their identification documents. But soon, they won't have to -- at least in the state of Maine, which is joining several other states in updating its ID policies.

In June 2017, a complaint was filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission on behalf of a South Portland resident, who requested a driver's license with a non-binary gender marker, but was denied as a result of computer limitations. The Maine Human Rights Commission then invited the resident and their lawyer to participate in mediation with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and this week, they came to a historic agreement.

Non-binary people - where identity documents fail

Currently, credentials show either an "M" for male or an "F" for female. However, beginning Monday, any Maine residents who wish to change the gender on their driver's license or state ID card from "male" or "female" to "gender non-binary" can apply for a sticker reading, "Gender has been changed to X – non-binary." 

Those stickers are only a temporary fix, until July 2019 when a system upgrade will allow Maine driver's licenses and ID cards to be printed with three gender options -- "M", "F" or "X" -- directly on the cards.

The move makes Maine the third state to adopt this policy. In June 2017, Oregon became the first state to allow "not specified" as a gender option on driver's licenses. And California's governor signed the Gender Recognition Act into law last October, allowing for a third gender choice on driver's licenses and birth certificates and easing requirements for transgender people to change their gender on identification documents.

Washington, D.C. recently made the move to recognize gender neutral individuals on driver's licenses, as well. 

Gender terminology 101

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