The Bulletin Board

State eliminates documentation requirement for gender X marker on licenses, identification cards

By: - August 18, 2021 10:31 am
A graphic showing blending genders

Attorney Andru Volinsky was surprised to learn a note was required not only to choose X as an identifier but also to switch gender identifiers from male to female and vice versa. (Getty Images)

Since 2014, the Division of Motor Vehicles has required the signature of a health care provider from anyone making a gender change. Beginning last year that also applied for those choosing X as their gender. But it was never required by law.

A Granite State College student has put an end to that practice. 

Rho Cabrera became aware of the requirement in early 2021 when they tried to choose X on an application for a non-driver photo identification card. With the help of an attorney, Cabrera questioned that requirement and it was eliminated. 

“I cried a little bit out of happiness,” said Cabrera, who is studying nonprofit management and hopes to earn a master’s degree in advocacy and social justice. “Just knowing that in the future people who want to be respected and show their identity have that option.”

Paul Raymond Jr., spokesman for the state Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, said the form dates back to 2014 and was created to meet what the division believed was the legislative intent.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) learned of the situation from a caller to its hotline just as Concord attorney Andru Volinsky began working with Cabrera. The two collaborated to help Cabrera advocate for a rule change.

Volinsky was surprised to learn a note was required not only to choose X as an identifier but also to switch gender identifiers from male to female and vice versa. Volinsky contacted the Civil Rights Unit at the state Attorney General’s Office, which then contacted the Division of Motor Vehicles. In short order, the rule was rescinded. 

Stanley said it is not uncommon for the division to consult with the Attorney General’s Office before changes to policy and procedures.

“The requirement by the Division of Motor Vehicles of a health care provider’s attestation that a person is being truthful when they apply for the X identifier or changing their gender identifier just had no basis in the law,” Volinsky said. “It was imposed by the Division of Motor Vehicles for reasons people can only guess.” 

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.

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