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Gender-marker ID law to recognize expansive options
by Matt Simonette
2017-12-27

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Howard Brown Health hailed the upcoming implementation of a city law that provides Chicagoans with municipal identification cards. The law is scheduled to take effect this March.

In a Dec. 21 statement, Howard Brown officials praised the new rule for providing for "our gender expansive communities, young people, older adults, and undocumented people." The statement further noted that for "the gender non-conforming and non-binary community, a third gender option 'NB' ( which is short for 'non-binary' ) will be offered as an option to participants. This option will make Chicago the first municipality in The State of Illinois to offer a third gender marker on a government issued ID."

The Chicago City Council passed the measure allowing for introduction of the cards in April. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with City Clerk Anna Valencia and, previously, former City Clerk Susana Mendoza, now the state Comptroller, long pushed for their use. Such cards have been available in New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., among other cities.

All Chicago residents would be eligible for the cards, regardless of of immigration or housing status, criminal record or gender identification; they would be accepted by all city departments.

The cards have sometimes proven to be controversial. Since undocumented individuals would presumably be a substantial constituency for the cards, some advocates voiced concern that they could be used as a means for tracking by federal immigration officials. Chicago officials said that the city would keep records of applicants' names but not their addresses or other vital records information.


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