Colorado residents who don’t identify as a male or female will soon be able to select “Gender X” on their driver’s licenses, thanks to recent court decisions.
The change will go into effect on Nov. 30 and comes from an emergency rule made by judges overseeing legal cases in which transgender individuals fought to change the sex listed on their driver’s licenses from their biological sex to their preferred one.
“This is an important step for the state of Colorado that the state documents reflect our values,” Colorado Department of Revenue executive director Michael Hartman told the Denver Post. “People are people no matter their sex identification.”
The Department oversees the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, after the two court cases found in favor of transgender individuals. The U.S. District Court for Colorado ruled last month that the U.S. State Department had to issue a passport to Brian Orin Whitney, who changed his name to Dana Zzyym and doesn’t identify as male or female. The Washington Post reported in July 2016 that Zzyym’s genitalia is covered in permanent scar tissue and doesn’t “quite appear to be that of a male or a female” and doesn’t function as a sexual organ. Zzyym says he never felt like a “male.”
Zzyym sued then-Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016, but updated the lawsuit to target Mike Pompeo after he became President Donald Trump’s second secretary of state.
Hartman also said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment might allow residents to change their sex on their birth certificates to “X,” as well, following a settlement with a minor who sued the department to make the change even though they had not had any sex reassignment surgeries. Current policy requires the surgeries before a change in documentation could be made.
“Applicants who want to use the X on their driver’s licenses will have to complete a form and get a signature from a medical provider or mental health counselor, but are not required to be undergoing any hormonal treatment or surgeries. The new licenses would be fully compliant with the federal REAL ID Act that sets standards for government-issued identifications and would be valid in other states and in airports, Hartman said,” according to the Denver Post.
California, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have already adopted a third sex option for driver’s licenses.
A study from the University of California-Los Angeles estimated that there are 20,850 adults who identify as transgender in Colorado, yet the Denver Post said it was difficult to know just how many people identify as nonbinary.