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Minnesota now offers ‘X’ for gender option on driver’s licenses

October 2, 2018

There is now a third gender option for Minnesotans applying for a new or renewed drivers license.

Listed along with M and F is X for any applicant who does not want to identify as male or female.

The unannounced change started Monday and was made on the first day the state began accepting applications for Real ID, the fortified drivers licenses required by the federal government in the aftermath of 9/11.

A statement issued at the end of the business day Monday from the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division explained that applicants need not provide any documentation if they want to have an X mark that gender spot on their license.

Gender identification is a self-descriptor like eye color, height and weight, read the statement, sent in response to questions from the Star Tribune.

Its unclear whether further documentation is needed for acceptance of a nonbinary designation. The DVS website still includes that medical certification of ... gender transition from a licensed physician must also be presented at the time of application. The new gender choice also is available on applications for state ID cards.

The agency statement added that this was a business decision to offer a third option to better serve all Minnesotans.

M.J. Zappa, who grew up male, believes he may have been the first person to come away with the new designation on a Minnesota-issued drivers license at least the temporary version.

Zappa, 26, of Maple Plain, said he arrived at the DVS service center on Minnesota Street in downtown St. Paul at 7:30 a.m. Monday. While it was 30 minutes before opening time, Zappa said he was welcomed in right away.

I just walked right in, handed them my old license and the letter from my doc [and] they asked me all the questions on that application paper verbally, Zappa said. Then I walked out with the [temporary license] and an assurance I would get the card in the mail soon.

Zappa was anxious to get his permanent license with the gender designation of his choice, so, I paid extra to fast-track it, so they said likely within seven days.

He said hes pleased to finally be able to present identification that more accurately represents myself going forward. Its a big step forward for all nonbinary Minnesotans.

The expanded gender menu is recognized by other states and falls within the bounds of the federal governments Real ID requirements, the statement continued. Minnesota joins Maine, Oregon, California and Washington with the third option. The District of Columbia does as well.

The National Center for Transgender Equality explains on its website that a gender-neutral ID allows people to display a more accurate gender marker on their ID [and] also allows people of any gender to have increased privacy around gender.

Paul Walsh 612-673-4482

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