California is the newest state to provide a third gender option on state identification cards and driver’s licenses. This new option, for non-binary folks, is a response to SB 179 a Senate Bill signed by Governor Brown on October 15, 2017. The State of California indicates that effective January 1, 2019 the Department of Motor Vehicles began allowing individuals to self-certify and choose a gender category of male, female, or non-binary on their DL/ID card. New ID or DL cards will show an “X” marker under gender.
The new law allows people to ‘self certify’, which means they are not asked to furnish medical records for the change to be processed. Individuals wishing to change their gender are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the DMV. There no additional fee to change the gender category, but standard DL/ID fees do apply.
The Golden State joins the short list of states that offer this type of option for residents. Last year Maine joined the ranks of Oregon, Minnesota, New York, Washington D.C.
Trangsgender activist and member of Trans Family Support Services, Al Johnson, shared with ABC San Diego:
For me, it was surprising to see this change. Not only does it mean we’re being recognized by society and the people around us but were also being recognized by government entities as valid and real people. I’ve definitely considered it, but in the end I don’t think I’m going to. I just came out to my parents and in my personal life I’m trying to navigate that.
According to The Guardian, California estimates that over 54,000 people will seek the gender change in the first year of this new state law and 20,000 the following year.