Nonbinary People Still Can’t Get A Goddamn ID Because Of A “Computer Problem”

This summer, the state of Oregon and one retired military vet worked together to make history. Back in April, Jamie Shupe filled out a gender change request form in Portland but wanted to know where they could mark “nonbinary.” It took until June 10, but eventually an Oregon court ruled that Shupe was legally nonbinary. But the court order stating that their gender is legal is just not enough to function in everyday society.  As Shupe is starting to find out, nonbinary individuals still can’t get an ID and that’s a big fucking problem, especially because the biggest obstacle in their way is a just a computer glitch. And small, closed minds — but one thing at a time.

Shupe is the first U.S. citizen to have legal nonbinary status, so it’s to be expected that bureaucracies might have some time catching up. But it’s starting to look a little hopeless. First, Schupe went to the DMV and applied for a driver’s license. But the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles said that it could take months before they are able to comply with Shupe’s court order and issue an ID that says they are nonbinary.

“We have statutory and administrative rule changes, we have to change our computer systems and contact our external partners,” said David House, a spokesman for the Oregon DMV. “It’s not as simple as flipping a switch.”

The DMV is also doing “research” to see if other states have policies regarding nonbinary individuals and looking into whether they need to change any state laws or internal policies at the DMV to accommodate a third option when it comes to gender. I get that things take time and changing an entire, standardized computer network to have a third option to click on when an individual applies for an ID is not something that can happen in a day.

Let’s not even talk about the fact that Schupe applied for a passport, had their old one confiscated as per standard renewal procedure, paid $300, but has still been denied a new passport that would say they are nonbinary. So Shupe has a court order and a personhood, but no identification. It sounds like they beginning of a bad Liam Neeson movie or something.

But it sounds a lot like Shupe can’t get an ID because no one respects the fact that nonbinary is a thing and the people in charge are shuffling their feet, just waiting for the LGBTQ community to go away. Intersex individuals are also denied IDs and passports because the State Department just is not up to the times. In Colorado, Dana Zzyym was also denied a passport for refusing to check “male” or “female.”

Gender neutral passports or adding an “other” box in the gender column on ID and passport applications could fix this. Brace yourself: Australia switched to gender neutral passports and the world did not implode.

In the U.K., Maria Munir, who famously came out to President Barack Obama as nonbinary, has been pushing for changes when it comes to gender options on official paperwork. But Munir seems to think it’s a two-step process. First, get the Equality Act signed in the U.S., which would amend the bill to have “gender” include transgender and nonbinary individuals, and protect them from discrimination. Once that’s in the books, it might be more necessary for states and the State Department to issue IDs and passports.

Of course, the Equality Acts needs to be signed and amended and I hope that if Hillary Clinton makes it into the White House, she will make good on her word to work for LGBTQ equality. But until then, state DMV’s need to hire an out of work programmer who can fix their little computer glitch. Give nonbinary people a fucking box to check.

Tags: gender, nonbinary