Gender X at Department of Licensing
Today is the first day in the state of Washington that non-binary people can choose to have a third gender option on their State ID or driver’s license. This morning I went with 2 friends and stood outside the Washington state Department of licensing for a half an hour before they opened. As more and more folks lined up behind us, where we stood we could see the staff gathering for a staff meeting. Everyone received the same sheet of paper. While we couldn’t hear what they were saying, we could see it was the same sheet of paper that both of my friends were holding. It’s the “Change of Gender Designation” form by the Washington State Department of Licensing. As of today, November 13, 2019, you can apply to have gender X on your Washington State ID or driver’s license.
My friends and I had arrived early enough that as soon as the door opened, we were assigned a person to see immediately. The staff were friendly, kind, and maybe even a little excited at seeing the form for the first time. The whole exercise lasted about 15 minutes, photos were taken, addresses confirmed, etc. Both of my read friends received printouts of their temporary driver’s license showing gender designation X. Before these were printed, their information was displayed on a screen and in the gender field it read “non-binary.” There licenses will be mailed to them in the next 7-10 days. This whole process cost them nothing (no cost if you already have an ID). No note from a medical professional was required. We thanked the staff and walked out. In and out of the Department of Licensing in less than 15 min!
Several states have recognized a third gender option to be listed on driver’s licenses and IDs. Oregon was the first state to make a court decision in favor for this in 2016 and since then other states have followed suit. In Washington, it is possible to get an enhanced driver’s license with the third gender, which would allow you to travel by plane or cross borders into Mexico or Canada by land. There is not currently a third gender option for Federal IDs or passports, though this may be something we see in the future.
The Washington State Change of Gender Designation form can be found online at: https://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/520043.pdf.
An information sheet can be found online at: www.dol.wa.gov/about/driversrules.html.