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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Illinois General Assembly Advances Non-Binary Gender Marker on Licenses
2019-05-30

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Springfield — Illinois would allow individuals to select a non-binary gender marker on their drivers' licenses and state identity cards under a measure approved Wednesday by the Illinois General Assembly, according to Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans. HB 3534 will next go to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, for his consideration and approval.

However, the gender-neutral marker would only be available as an option after the Illinois Secretary of State implements a new driver's license and identification card issuance system. Currently, the technology utilized by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office does not allow for designation of a non-binary gender marker on driver's licenses and state ID cards.

"While we are frustrated by the technological difficulties that push off the true effective date of this legislation, we are encouraged Illinois is moving in the right direction," said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. "Individuals who identify as non-binary should have the ability to access identification documents that reflect who they are. This is a matter of safety, privacy, and the ability to live authentically without burden."

Sponsored by State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray ( D-Downers Grove ) and State Sen. Cristina Castro ( D-Elgin ), HB 3534 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 39-16. The bill had previously passed the Illinois House 67-38.

"We thank Rep. Stava-Murray and Sen. Castro for their leadership on this measure and for ensuring that Illinois keeps moving forward regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ people," said Johnson.

Presently, the lack of a gender-neutral marker causes emotional distress and violates the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. When gender-related appearance does not match identification documents, intersex, transgender, and non-binary individuals are faced with significant hardships, ranging from difficulty using credit cards for everyday purchases to harassment and violence. According to Illinois data from the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey ( which included 1,082 transgender Illinoisans ), 34% of respondents who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave an establishment, or assaulted.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont offer, or will soon offer, the option of a gender-neutral designation on driver's licenses and state ID cards. Chicago offers a gender-neutral option on the new CityKey. Recently, United Airlines became the first airline to allow customers to select a gender-neutral designation when they make travel arrangements

HB 3534 is supported by Equality Illinois and the Illinois Secretary of State's Office.

—From a press release

About Equality Illinois

At Equality Illinois we envision a fair and unified Illinois where everyone is treated equally with dignity and respect and where all people live freely regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. We work hard to promote legislation to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning ( LGBTQ ) individuals; maintain the visibility of LGBTQ issues; oppose legislation which seeks to limit the civil rights of the LGBTQ community; and expand statewide grassroots support.


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