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Maryland set to add 'X' gender designation to driver's licenses under bill by General Assembly

A poster shows details of a new Maryland driver's license at the Motor Vehicle Administration location in Annapolis.
A poster shows details of a new Maryland driver's license at the Motor Vehicle Administration location in Annapolis. (by Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette)

Marylanders who don't identify as either male or female could decline to identify a gender on their driver's licenses starting in October under a bill the General Assembly approved Wednesday.

Instead of “M” for male or “F” for female, Marylanders who identify as “nonbinary” could have an “X” displayed on their IDs.

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The House of Delegates voted 91-47 to pass a bill the Senate approved last month.

Gov. Larry Hogan has not weighed in on the legislation. The governor has the option to sign or veto any bill, or let it become law without his signature.

When asked the governor’s position on the bill, spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said the governor “will consider any legislation that reaches his desk.”

If the bill does become law, Maryland would join California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and the District of Columbia in allowing a designation for unspecified gender on licenses and ID cards. Residents of 11 countries can choose nonbinary or gender-neutral designations on their passports, which are accepted by U.S. authorities.

Advocates for those who don’t identify as male or female say those people should not have to choose a gender on legal documents. The Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project and other groups are pushing for legislation around the country “that recognizes that sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation have endless variations,” and said that all of those variations should be respected.

Maryland already allows residents to change the gender listed on their driver’s license or ID.

The legislation approved Wednesday takes that a step further and prohibits the Motor Vehicle Administration from denying an application because the sex selected by an applicant doesn’t match the one displayed on another document.

The bill would also bar the MVA from requiring applicants to provide proof of sex or gender.

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