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Gender ‘X’ option now available on Washington licenses, permits and ID cards

Washington Gender X license (photo courtesy DOL)

WASHINGTON — Washington state has added a third gender option for drivers licenses, permits and ID cards: Gender X.

The X designation means a gender that is not exclusively male or female, according to the state Department of Licensing.  The rule change was proposed earlier this year to create more consistency with Washington birth certificates that can now list an X.

Sixteen other states have already implemented the third gender option, including California and Oregon.

“Everyone deserves to have their lived experience of gender and identity reflected as accurately as possible on their identification documents,” Department of Licensing Director Teresa Berntsen said. “This, in turn, helps reduce barriers to housing, transportation, education, and employment. It’s in service to our purpose of helping all Washington residents live, work, drive, and thrive.”

An “X” gender designation will not affect the validity of identification used to comply with the REAL ID Act when enforcement begins Oct. 1, 2020. The REAL ID-compliant forms of identification issued by Washington state are the enhanced driver license and enhanced ID card, though residents have other options.

The licensing department held public hearings in August in Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia before the rule change took effect. They also held listening sessions in Seattle and Spokane in June to gauge public opinion.

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