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Measure for non-binary gender marker on driver's licenses, state IDs approved
2019-08-26

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Under legislation approved Friday by Gov. Pritzker, individuals in Illinois will be able to select a non-binary gender marker on their drivers' licenses and state identity cards after the Illinois Secretary of State's Office next implements a new driver's license and identification card issuance system, according to Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer Illinoisans.

"While technological challenges are pushing off the true effective date of House Bill 3534, we are encouraged Illinois is moving in the right direction," said Myles Brady Davis, Director of Communications and Press Secretary at 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. We look forward to working with the Secretary of State's Office to fulfill the requirements of HB 3534."

According to HB 3534, the gender-neutral marker would only be available as an option after the Illinois Secretary of State's Office next 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 third gender marker on driver's licenses and state ID cards.

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 previously passed the Illinois House 67-38.

"Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for signing HB 3534," said Brady Davis. "Thank you, Rep. Stava-Murray and Sen. Castro, for your leadership on this measure in the General Assembly."

The lack of a gender-neutral marker on an identification document 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, trans, 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, 34% of trans Illinoisans 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, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington 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 municipal ID card, the CityKey.

In addition to Equality Illinois, HB 3534 is supported by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office, ACLU of Illinois, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois National Organization for Women, and Planned Parenthood.

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.

—From a press release


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