As part of the state’s Gender Recognition Act approved last year, New York drivers may now mark “X” for their gender on new driver’s licenses. The first drivers affected by the change received their new batch of IDs Friday.
Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a press release that every person deserves identity documents that reflect “who they are.” She notes that, with Pride Month celebrations starting in a few days, this “historic” change is another win in ensuring “equality and respect.”
She adds that the move ensures that New York is a place of “value, love, and belonging” for the LGBT community. State Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan said the license change is important for queer and transgender young people who are “under attack” across the U.S.
Proponents of the move argued that limiting “gender identity” on licenses to male or female discriminates against New Yorkers who are nonbinary.
Those who already have state-issued IDs may change their gender to “X” online or at the DMV starting in July.
Other aspects of the new law allow individuals to attest their own gender identity in court proceedings or updating identification documents. There is no longer a requirement to publish name changes in local papers, and parents may choose “father,” “mother,” or “parent” for birth certificates.
The Gender Recognition Act also eases the process for modifying a birth certificate.
The sweeping changes put New York in line or ahead of nearly half the U.S. states which already allow at least some gender-neutral options on government documents.
The nation’s largest city already recognizes at least 31 gender identities, much like Baskin-Robbins ice cream of old. The city can even impose fines for those who do not address certain people by their preferences.
In March, the State Department provided the “X” option for marking gender on passports. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the mark implies the user has an “unspecified or another gender identity.” He notes the move advances inclusion.
Of all the issues the Empire State and its largest city in particular face, re-gendering drivers’ licenses cannot be near the top. It is, however, one more milestone on the road to silliness and irrelevance.