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Arizona lawmakers push for a third gender option on driver's licenses

They also introduced a bill that would require a person's death certificate to correspond with their gender identity

Arizona lawmakers push for a third gender option on driver's licenses
A collection of old Arizona driver's licenses. (Photo by Alan Levine on Flickr)

Democratic lawmakers in the largely conservative state of Arizona are introducing two bills to help the trans and non-binary citizens of the state. One bill will would offer a third gender option on driver’s licenses. The other would require a person’s death certificate to reflect their gender identity.

The bills

House Bill 2492 is the bill that would allow a non-binary option on driver’s licenses.

‘If the applicant chooses the applicant’s gender as nonbinary, an affidavit that states that the applicant identifies as gender nonbinary and that the applicant signs and submits to the department is satisfactory proof of the applicant’s gender,’ the bill states.

House Bill 2582 is the bill that applies to death certificates.

‘In any documentation of the decedent’s sex on the death certificate, the person completing the death certificate shall record the decedent’s sex to reflect the decedent’s gender identity,’ the bill states.

Why these bills are needed

‘I want to be able to say that Arizona’s on the front lines of recognizing diversity,’ said Rep. Rosanna Gabaldón, who introduced the death certificate bill. ‘I want to see a time when we can look back at this and wonder why anyone had a problem with it.’

However, neither bill has received a hearing.

Though the state of Arizona doesn’t require proof of transition surgery to change the gender marker on a driver’s license, they do require a doctor’s letter that states the person is ‘irrevocably committed’ to transitioning. For non-binary driver’s license applicants, no process has been set up.

‘HB 2492 is incredibly important because it would allow non-binary transgender Arizonans to be recognized under the law,’ said Ashton Skinner, transgender-outreach coordinator for One Community, an online directory of LGBTI-friendly businesses. ‘This bill gives me hope for the future of our state.’

A 2015 United States Transgender Survey found that nearly 70% of Arizona respondents did not have an official document with their preferred name and gender on it. More than 30% of respondents who had identification with a name or gender that didn’t match their appearance reported being ‘verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.’

Rep. Ken Clark, who introduced the driver’s license bill, says it’s needed in Arizona for two reasons: ‘One, you should simply have the right to identify how you identify. But I also think there’s a practical element: If you’re at the hospital and you’re unconscious, and the doctor can see on your ID that you might identify in a different way, that may help indicate treatment.’

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