Should the government offer a gender-neutral option for IDs? | The Tylt
Should the government offer a gender-neutral option for IDs?
Activists say state and federal governments should change their policies so people can easily identify as male, female or non-binary on government issued IDs. It's not a new idea—several countries like Australia, Germany, and Canada allow their citizens to legally change their gender to non-binary.
Activists say it's important to give non-binary people legal recognition because so many things are tied to your government issued ID. Some transgender people have been unable to leave the country simply because the gender on their passport does not match with the one listed on other paperwork. At a more fundamental level, it's about recognizing a person's basic human dignity and how that is reflected by our legal system.
People who supported the change told the DMV in public comments that adding the “X” option is an important step for people whose appearance does not match the marker on their ID, which can leave them vulnerable to harassment, discrimination or violence.
“This small, significant change is about affording me and others like me the same basic dignity as those who see an “M” or an “F” on their driver’s license and feel accurately represented; to be who we are without being subjected to suspicion or ridicule,” read one comment.
However, the move has been met with opposition at the local and federal level. In California, groups argued for allowing people to change their gender on official documents with such ease that it could potentially open the door for rampant identity fraud.
"If one's sex can be officially 'changed' by simply — even repeatedly — filing an $11 form with the state government, it's going to be a lot harder to accurately identify 'non-binary' accused criminals in open court," Thomasson said in a statement. "The gender identity fraud that this radical bill would usher in is the antithesis of law and order."
The State Department has also resisted adding a non-binary option on the grounds of identity fraud. In a court filing, the State Department argued adding a non-binary option would compromise its fraud prevention system:
“Allowing passports with sex markers other than ‘F’ or ‘M’ would compromise the department’s efforts to prevent identity theft and passport fraud by upending the department’s long-established system for validating the identity and citizenship of passport applicants and requiring the department to rely on less reliable and less uniform identification documents,”