Nonbinary genders to be shown on Calif. licenses

Individuals applying for a driver license in California can self-certify their gender category as male, female or nonbinary as of Jan. 1.

Driver licenses will be marked with an “X” for those who do not identify as male or female. This law also extends to birth certificates.

California is one of the few states, including Oregon, Maine, Arkansas and Minnesota, to offer non-binary gender markers on driver licenses, according to intomore.com. Medical records or a doctors note are no longer required for people to have their gender marked “X,” and no additional fees are required for changing a gender marker, making it easier for transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people to have their identity accurately reflected.

Science teacher and Upper School Coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nate Cardin said that this change is a step toward greater acceptance for nonbinary people.

“There are members of the Harvard-Westlake community who do not identify as male or female, so to see the state government and to see our school acknowledging that gender is not just binary is a really powerful change that acknowledges people who have not been acknowledged before,” Cardin said.

English teacher Darcy Buck, who identifies as nonbinary, is still deciding whether or not to have their documents changed.

Buck said that although it would be affirming to have official documentation reflect who they truly are, they are concerned that being more visible as non-binary would make them more vulnerable to violence.

“It provides an opportunity and a conundrum to the nonbinary members of the community, as it does to me,” Buck said. “There are students who don’t identify as male or female and have either recently received a driver’s license or are in the process of receiving a drivers license. If they chose “X,” they are choosing documentation that reflects who they truly are, but they also choose documentation that might create issues for them. It would be great if none one of us have to fear being fully who we are in the community that we are in, and our hope of course is that our allies will work for us so that we can achieve that.”

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