Minnesotans can now obtain IDs with non-binary gender markers, in a progressive new policy that allows residents to self-identify.
The state rolled out the option of an “X” gender marker in addition to “M” and “F” on Monday without a formal announcement. Unlike most ID issuers, the state is not requiring trans people to provide any formal documentation to obtain a gender marker.
“Gender identification is a self-descriptor like eye color, height and weight,” said the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services in a statement to the Star Tribune.
Despite the lack of a formal announcement, applicants are now able to complete a new gender designation form with a non-binary option.
The state’s Driver and Vehicle Services Division told the Star Tribune the new marker “was a business decision to offer a third option to better serve all Minnesotans.”
The paper reports that non-binary people have already successfully applied for the markers.
The move comes as the state transitions to Real IDs, the federally-compliant IDs required by the year 2020 in the wake of 9/11.
California, Maine and Oregon already offer non-binary ID options. Last month, the Washington D.C. City Council unanimously approved gender neutral IDs. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has vowed to sign that measure.
The new Minnesota ID policy does not remove requirements around name changes in the state. Transgender Minnesotans are still required to provide documentation of a legal name change within 30 days to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The IDs have been the subject of some criticism. Republican Senator Scott Newman criticized the move as one swept through without legislative approval, in a statement to Pioneer Press. Newman questioned whether the new IDs would hinder law enforcement in identifying suspects.