Del. considering offering gender-neutral driver’s licenses

Del. considering offering gender-neutral driver’s licenses

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Delaware could join Pennsylvania in offering a gender-designation option of “X” on state-issued driver’s licenses.

DelDOT’s Director of Community Relations C.R. McLeod told PGN, “Ultimately, if there is a way for Delaware to do this we will; we just have to ensure that we are federally compliant, so no timetable until we are able to answer those questions.”

McLeod noted that Delaware does have a policy in place for gender designation changes. The policy indicates a person does not have to undergo gender-affirmation surgery to change their gender marker. However, the two options currently available for designation are male and female.

He said DelDOT plans to research how the new designation in Pennsylvania impacts the Federal REAL ID Act. According to the TSA, “Delaware residents will need a REAL ID compatible driver’s license by October 1, 2020, if they want to use it to get onto a domestic flight, enter certain federal buildings or enter military bases.” The act requires a person’s gender be provided on the ID for identity purposes.

Shelley Koon, the Chief of DMV Communications in Delaware, reiterated the department is in the exploration phase.

The ACLU of Delaware issued a statement saying the organization “supports expanded inclusivity for people who do not identify as male or female.”

Washington, D.C. was the first to offer an option other than male or female in 2017. There has been an uptick in states offering gender designations outside the binary on driver’s licenses in the last year. In June 2018, only three states offered the option. As of August 2019, 14 states either will offer or are offering an indication of “X” while Delaware considers it.

At the same time, the number of folks using gender-inclusive pronouns — like “they”  — continues to increase. According to a Pew Study, 30 percent of millenials, people born between the early ’80s and mid-’90s, know someone who uses gender-inclusive pronouns compared to only 13 percent of baby boomers, people born in the mid-’40s-’60s.

The recent wave of states allowing a gender-inclusive option on driver’s licenses runs parallel to several state initiatives allowing residents to update their birth certificates to a gender-inclusive option. At least four states have an “X” option for birth certificates. 

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