Bill Will Allow Non-Binary Gender Option on District Driver’s Licenses
Posted on June 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM
Councilmember Nadeau introduces bill to ensure gender nonconforming individuals can obtain accurate identification
WASHINGTON – Today, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau introduced a bill to allow District residents to select a non-binary gender option on their licenses, learner’s permits, or ID cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The bill will allow residents to indicate their gender as non-binary, designated with an X instead of M or F. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers David Grosso, Robert C. White, Jr., Charles Allen, Elissa Silverman, and Mary Cheh. It was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Jack Evans, Anita Bonds, Trayon White, Sr., and Vincent C. Gray.
“The District has always sought to be a safe and welcoming place for our LGBTQ community, and today we are continuing to deliver on that legacy,” said Councilmember Nadeau. “Gender is a spectrum and some of our residents do not identify as male or female. Current licenses force residents to conform to genders that don’t accurately reflect their identity. This has not only a practical impact but also a deeply negative emotional and mental health impact. This bill changes District identification documents so they can accurately reflect the needs of our residents.”
“It is important to have different ID options that respect gender diversity and do not feel oppressive to those of us who do not conform to the binary,” states Dr. Zelaika Hepworth Clarke. Dr. Clarke, a social worker at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, is among the many DC residents who challenges the gender binary.
“Every person deserves to have their identities affirmed and respected by their governments,” said Xavier Persad, legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign. “Ensuring that identity documents reflect the broader diversity of gender identities is a matter of both principle and public health. We thank Councilmember Nadeau for her leadership on this important bill and we urge the Council of the District of Columbia to continue their role at the forefront of the fight for equality by adopting this measure.”
This month, Oregon became the first state in the nation to allow more than two gender options on identity documents following a court judgement in favor of a non-binary resident. A California bill allowing for a non-binary option on state identification documents was introduced in January and has passed the state senate. Other countries recognize non-binary genders on identification documents including Canada, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, and Nepal.
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