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Benson, community members celebrate nonbinary ID option
November 10, 2021
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and partners in the LGBTQIA+ community today celebrated the first day that the Michigan Department of State is offering a nonbinary option - marked with an "X" - as a sex marker on Michigan driver's licenses and state identification cards.
"I am proud to offer state identification that bolsters the safety and accurately reflects the identity of more Michigan residents," said Benson. "For years we have been working with the LGBTQIA+ community, and upgrading our own technology, to make this possible in order to ensure that government works for all people of Michigan."
Benson was joined by many members of the LGBTQIA+ community, including several speakers who shared personal experiences and spoke to the positive impact this option would have on Michiganders.
"This new identifier pushes Michigan further along the path to becoming more inclusive and welcoming for all Michiganders," said Jey'nce Poindexter, a national activist and case manager at the Ruth Ellis Center. "The impact and importance of this new identifier will uplift and include folks for generations to come. We all know representation matters, this is just that. I am proud to be a part of such groundbreaking policy changes."
"Every day and throughout the course of history, nonbinary people like me, my partner, and my child have been forced to select between limited options that do not represent or include us and, thanks to Secretary of State Benson, her entire staff, and the group of LGBTQ+ advocates who have been working tirelessly to make an X gender marker possible on state IDs, we are being told that nonbinary people are not only included and represented, but respected and celebrated," said Carrick Copeland with SAGE Metro Detroit. "I urge all Michigan residents to seek ways in which to reflect such dignity and respect to nonbinary, transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex neighbors, such as using their affirming names and pronouns."
Residents who wish to change their sex-marker to "X" will be able to do so by filling out the correction form - available online and at all offices - and submitting it at any Secretary of State office. They are encouraged to schedule a visit for a license or ID correction by visiting Michigan.gov/SOS or calling 888-SOS-MICH.
"We are grateful to Secretary Benson for recognizing the diversity of Michigan residents and the need for everyone to have accurate identity documents that reflect their authentic lives," said Jay Kaplan with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan's LGBT Project.
"Thank you for developing such an inclusive policy for the community," said Anthony Sherman, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Affirmations, where the event was held. "On behalf of Affirmations Community Center, we're so proud to have been the host for such an important announcement that will bring positive change for many Michiganders."
Benson was also joined by state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), who spoke in support of the option and was echoed by several other legislators who have advocated for similar changes through the legislative process.
"I'm proud that Michigan is joining the 20 others states that already allow an 'X' option on state identification cards, reflecting our shared belief that all Michiganders deserve the dignity and respect of being known by their true identity," said Sen. Hollier. "Assigning people a certain binary gender doesn't conform with reality, and I'm proud that Michigan is stepping up to uplift, help, and support nonbinary, intersex, or gender-nonconforming residents who have been unfairly marginalized by our elected officials for far too long."
"The inclusion of an 'X' option on state identification cards is a strong step to provide nonbinary people with an option to express their gender identity on state identification by offering gender markers beyond male and female," said state Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo). "I applaud this step by Secretary Benson and look forward to continuing to work to make Michigan a more inclusive place for nonbinary people."
"For the past few years, Secretary Benson and I have been working to make Michigan a safe space for the LGBTQ community - and today we have taken another monumental step toward helping provide some dignity and respect to our friends who identify as nonbinary, intersex, or gender nonconforming," said state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield). "This is a milestone moment for the equality movement in Michigan, and I'm so proud to work alongside the many activists whose tireless work has made the 'X' designation on state identifications a reality. I hope the actions taken by the Secretary of State revive the topic of LGBTQ equality in the Legislature, where I look forward to continuing the fight for true equity."
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/SOSUpdateID.
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