State Considers Adding Non-Binary Option to Driver’s Licenses

Raquel Perry, Reporter/Marketing Manager

Michigan is considering adding a new “Sex” option on driver’s licenses for people who identify as non-binary.

According to ABC News, the move would allow Michigan residents who do not identify as either male or female to be represented as “non-binary” on their licenses.

Michigan residents who do not identify as exclusively masculine or feminine have apparently voiced their desire for an option that would better reflect the full spectrum of their gender expression. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson took an approach to make it easier for transgender people to change their gender on their driver’s license. Benson revised state policy and had residents fill out a form and pay $9 to change the stated sex on their driver’s license. Under the new policy, people who wish to change the sex on their license do not need to supply a birth certificate, passport, or court order.

“One of my goals is to reduce barriers for marginalized communities to participate fully in our society,” Benson said at a November 2019 press conference, according to a press release from the secretary of state’s office. “The transgender community has faced both marginalization and violence without proper identification. This change returns to a policy that was in place before the issue was politicized, and that was utilized by both a Republican and Democrat secretary of state.”

Michigan would become the 14th state to make such a change. Washington, D.C., and New York City have adopted similar options, which largely allows drivers to select an “X” instead of “M” or “F” to indicate their gender.

“Some transgender individuals don’t carry IDs or face trouble when they do because their designation doesn’t match the way they present,” said Erin Knott, executive director of Equality Michigan, an anti-violence and political advocacy organization serving Michigan’s LGBTQ community.

“Modernizing our current policy helps to remove barriers,” Knott said. “It also says all Michiganders, including transgender individuals, are deserving of dignity and respect.”

The possibility to add a non-binary option might be complete by 2021, according to Jake Rollow, a spokesman for Jocelyn Benson’s office .