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Washington, D.C. Adds a Gender-Neutral License Option

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Washington D.C. may beat Oregon to punch to become the first place to offer gender-neutral driver's licenses in the United States.

On Tuesday, Washington Post reporter Fenit Nirappil tweeted a newsletter from the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs page declaring the new gender-neutral option. The press release claims the gender-neutral option is a version of “#DCVALUES.”

WJLA reports that like in Oregon, Washington, D.C. will also be adopting the “X” gender option alternative to “M” for male and “F” for female for driver’s licenses for those who don't identify as either sex.

According to D.C. transportation officials, the gender-neutral will be available as soon as next Monday. The Oregon gender-neutral option will debut on July 3.

Legislation was introduced on Tuesday to make the addition permanent.

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh said, “There’s a difference between having something done by legislation and having something put in the code.”

“It means it can’t be changed by simply some administrative or executive decision later on,” she explained.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said, "The District has always sought to be a safe and welcoming place for our LGBTQ community, and today we are continuing to deliver on that legacy.”

"Gender is a spectrum and some of our residents do not identify as male or female. Current licenses force residents to conform to genders that don't accurately reflect their identity,” she continued.

Nadeau cited one constituent who identified as outside male or female.

“In particular I'm thinking of one constituent who doesn't identify as either male or female, and ask could there be another way,” Nadeau said. “We can make it an option somewhere in between that really better reflects what that person's identity really is.”

According to Arli Christian, the spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality, the gender-neutral option is a way of preserving privacy, although transgender advocates often argue it's a way to allow genderqueer people to identify outside the binary spectrum.

“The ‘X’ gender marker allows for individuals to have more privacy around their gender,” she said. “Any individual who chooses to have additional privacy can request an ‘X’.”

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