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Michigan driver's licenses could one day designate gender as "M, "F," or "X"

Michigan Secretary of State

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is considering adding a third option so people don't have to identify as either male or female on their driver's licenses.

A spokesman for Benson says the change is based on community and individual feedback from people who want their lived experience reflected on their driver's license.

Erin Knott is the Executive Director of Equality Michigan. She says the change could protect people from discrimination if their driver's license doesn't seem to match their appearance.

"This impacts the transgender community as well as individuals that identify as non-binary or gender non- confirming," says Knott. "This would remove having to designate or pick one of the two options and go to a gender neutral option of 'X.'  It's saying that all Michiganders, including members of the transgender community, deserve to live with dignity and respect."

Knott says 14 other states already include "X" as an option on driver's licenses, and two other states are in the process of adding it.

The change, if it happens, won't be immediate, because it would depend on a technology overhaul at the Secretary of State.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.