Bill Allowing Unspecified Gender on Licenses Passes Maryland Senate

The bill would allow people who don't identify with a gender to mark their license with an "X" instead of with "M" or "F"

What to Know

  • The Maryland Senate OK'd a bill on Friday that would give a third option on licenses for people who don't identify as male or female.
  • Now, the bill goes to the Maryland House for approval.
  • D.C. started offering the "X" option on its licenses in 2017.

A measure to enable Maryland residents to select an unspecified gender on their driver's licenses was approved in the state Senate.

Senators approved the bill Friday in a 32-14 vote, The Baltimore Sun reports. Now, it moves to the House of Delegates for consideration.

The bill requires an application for a license to allow someone to identify as female, male or unspecified. If an applicant identifies as an unspecified sex, the Motor Vehicle Administration would have to ensure the license displays an "X'' in the appropriate location.

The measure prohibits the MVA from requiring an applicant to provide proof of gender or from denying an application because the sex selected by the applicant doesn't match the sex displayed on another document associated with the applicant.

Washington, D.C. became the first city in the country to offer gender-neutral driver's licenses in 2017. The licenses allow people who don't identify with a gender to mark their license with an X, instead of with "male" or "female."

Sara Collina’s 15-year-old, Lu, recently asked her if they could move from Maryland to D.C. to have the "X" option.

Lu is agender, or nonbinary, which means they don’t identify as male or female. They would rather not drive than to have to pick a gender to get the license.

"They made it clear that this third option on the driver's license ... was so important to them that the idea of moving was very appealing," Collina said.

But instead of moving, Collina decided to fight to change Maryland law to allow an "X" as a third option.

"This, actually, will just make the driver's license more accurate for the purposes of who they are," Collina said.

Advocates from the LGBTQ community are also pushing for the bill.

"To be in this situation where you're saying either I invalidate my own sense of self, or I give up having a driver's license, that's an awful choice to have to make," advocate Lily Pastor said.

Several states, including California, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine and Oregon, have recently allowed the designation of an unspecified gender on licenses.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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