Maine has become the third state to provide an option on driver’s licenses and identification cards for non-binary gender status.
Following in the steps of Oregon, California and the District of Columbia, Maine’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced Monday that they would start providing a sticker saying “Gender has been changed to: X – Non binary” for the back of their ID cards, along with the current “M” and “F” options.
They plan to phase out the stickers and print the “X” marker directly on the IDs starting in July of 2019.
The change came after Ian-Meredythe Dehne Lindsey, who prefers the pronouns “they” and “them,” filed a complaint when they were told they were unable to receive a non-binary gender marker, as there was no computer system in place to handle such a request.
“Words cannot adequately express the relief I feel, and how happy I am, that my ID will now reflect such an integral part of my identity and who I am,” Dehne Lindsey, said in a statement, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Dehne Lindsey described how they are always forced to pick a gender when they fill out documents. When they were forced to make a choice for their driver’s license, they picked “F” and said each time they would “die a little bit inside.” Now with these new ID cards, Dehne Lindsey said that the temporary sticker solution is a huge victory for them.
“Having the sticker validates my existence,” Dehne Lindsey said Monday. “It was extremely important for me and for non-binary individuals in general. It shows that we’re human beings and worthy of being recognized.”
Dehne Lindsey received help from Zack Paakkonen, an attorney and President of EqualityMaine’s board of directors. EqualityMaine was able to successfully get the two parties into a room to mediate and come to an agreement.
“We know gender is a spectrum and some people don’t identify as male or female,” Paakkonen said. “It’s important that driver’s licenses and other forms of ID recognize people who are non-binary.”
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap praised the decision Monday, saying that his office wanted to provide state documentation with more gender diversity, which included changing state IDs from having a “sex” designation on licenses to “gender” a few years prior.
“We understand that it’s very, very important for people in these situations to see it in writing,” Dunlap said. “We don’t want the designation to be wrong. I’m all about people being able to say who they are. The ‘X’ designation covers a lot of things.”
Gender diversity is not only being pushed for at a state level. An intersex person from Colorado is asking a federal court to order the U.S. State Department to issue them a passport that correctly reflects their gender identity.