Washington, D.C. has made “X” a gender option on driver’s licenses and identification cards, making it the first jurisdiction in the United States to offer gender-neutral identifications.
A group of people became the first in America to receive gender-neutral driver’s licenses on Tuesday in the nation’s capital, CNN reports. They prefer “X” as their gender marker instead of male or female because they identify as gender fluid, gender non-conforming, agender, or another category.
Nik Sakurai was the first to receive one of these licenses and made a Facebook event to celebrate. Sakurai identifies as agender and prefers the pronoun “they.”
“I don’t feel that sense of gender as something that is part of my core innate experience,” Sakurai said. “I’m glad to finally have an ID that actually matches who I am.”
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) June 27, 2017
CNN cited LGBTQ advocates who say that gender-neutral identification lessens the chances of harassment when someone’s gender does not seem to match that person’s physical appearance. Oregon will come out with its own gender-neutral licenses on Saturday.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week that this change was intended to improve the health and wellbeing of all Washingtonians. She said that the new identification option “aligns District gender identity policies with D.C. values.”
“Washington, D.C. has long been a leader in LGBTQ rights and gender issues, and this change is the most recent example of our city’s commitment to inclusivity,” Bowser said.
The director of the city’s human rights office, Monica Palacio, said that part of the goal was to change how residents think about gender.
“This important step taken by the Department of Motor Vehicles not only validates a person’s chosen identity but also creates broader acceptance, reducing potential incidents of discrimination against individuals for being who they are,” Palacio said.