Landmark legislation now gives New Yorkers option to choose ‘X’ on state identification

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Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced new legislation this week that will give New Yorkers the option of choosing “X” as their gender on their driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver I.D. card.

Hochul says the landmark decision will provide expanded protections for transgender and nonbinary New York residents. It makes it easier for people to navigate the challenges of changing their names, birth certificates and sex designation.

“Every person, regardless of their gender identity or expression, deserves to have an identity document that reflects who they are,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “My administration remains committed to ensuring that New York is a place of value, love and belonging for members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

New York residents who already have a state-issued ID will have the option to change their gender marker from “M” or “F” to “X” at the DMV. Those applying for a state-issued ID for the first time will also have the option to select “X.”

An online application to request the change will be available beginning in July, Hochul said.

Carl Charles, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal, which focuses on LGBT rights and filed a lawsuit seeking the “X” marker on behalf of a nonbinary, transgender client, called the move a “significant step forward” for equality.

“The State of New York has finally turned the page on a discriminatory, outdated policy,” Charles said. “Nonbinary, transgender, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers now have access to accurate, state-issued identity documents that are critical to day to day life in New York.”

New York joins several other states, including California, New Jersey and Maine, in allowing residents to choose something other than male or female as their gender marker on certain state-issued documents. The State Department and Social Security Administration this year also announced they will allow people to select “X” as their gender identity on U.S. Passports and Social Security documents.

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