Over the past few years, non-binary individuals have slowly gained more legal recognition in the United States. Although those who come out as neither male nor female still face much discrimination, an increasing number of states are beginning to recognize the need for more nuanced personal identifiers. Today, June 12th, Maine joined these states by announcing that it will now provide a third, non-binary gender designation for driver’s licenses. And we’re cheering!
According to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ website, residents’ genders will be displayed on their licenses as “M,” “F,” or “X.” Eventually, all three options will appear on the licenses, but until a 2019 redesign, license-holders can fill out a gender designation form to receive a sticker noting their change to gender “X.” The gender designation form was made available on the BMV’s website on June 11th.
The change was the result of a June 2017 complaint filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission on behalf of a non-binary resident, Ian-Meredythe Dehne Lindsay. Dehne Lindsay told the Portland Press Herald that having to choose between only “male” or “female” had made them feel like a liar. They said that finally being recognized as their true gender by the state was a huge relief.
According to CBS News, Oregon, California, and Washington, D.C. also offer third gender options on their driver’s licenses. Additionally, California, Washington, and Oregon also provide residents with the ability to choose a third gender on their birth certificates — a huge step forward for non-binary individuals.
Maine’s new policy is a step in the right direction, and it comes just in time for Pride Month. We hope that more and more states follow suit in the months and years to come, because everyone should have the right to be valued and recognized for who they truly are.