Pennsylvania now recognizes gender X on its IDs
The state joins 17 others across the U.S. recognizing a nonbinary gender designation.
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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced on Thursday, July 23 that a nonbinary gender designation option will now be available on all its drivers licenses and photo identification cards.
The gender options on PA licenses and IDs will now be either “M” for male, “F” for female, or “X” for nonbinary.
Several states have already made the change define gender “x” as an umbrella term to encompass a gender that is not exclusively male or female, including, but not limited to, intersex, agender, genderqueer, nonbinary, pangender, transgender, Two-spirit, and unspecified.
Today, more than 7,000 people in the U.S currently have gender X markers on their official identification.
Anyone who wants to change their gender designation should fill out form DL-32, “Request for Gender Change on Driver’s License/Identification Card,” and bring it to a PennDOT Driver License Center. No signoff from a medical or social services provider is required.
PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said in a press release that they are proud to be taking this step.
“Our identity documents are critical to how we navigate the world, and having an affirming and accurate ID is critical for access to employment, healthcare, housing and so much more,” she said.
According to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ policy tracker, PA is now the 17th state that allows for these gender designation options on ID cards. The other states that have already made this decision are Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, New York, Oregon and California.
This change follows a national movement of teens and young adults advocating for gender neutral pronouns, like “they/them” and pushing for recognition of gender identity on cards like a driver’s license or college ID.
Rafael Álvarez Febo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs said in a statement that this decision is allowing people to have more agency over their own lives, as their true selves.
“Your state-issued ID is quite possibly the most important identity document you use on a daily basis, it should reflect your truth,” he said.
This is a big step for the LGBTQ community of Pennsylvania and the U.S.
Other countries have also made similar moves. Nepal was the first to recognize a third gender option in 2007. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Canada also legally recognize nonbinary or “third gender” people.
Michelle Dech, executive director of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading said in an email that they’re pleased to see PA join in on the progressive changes.
“Every human being should be able to live their life authentically, and removing this barrier is a positive step in affirming gender identity for all Pennsylvanians,” she said.