An NYU law student wants the state to update its drivers licenses to include a nonbinary gender option, and is now suing Governor Andrew Cuomo and the commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to make that happen.
Sander Saba, a nonbinary transgender New Yorker, has now filed a suit in federal court arguing that having "male" and "female" options exclusively on licenses violates nonbinary New Yorkers' constitutional rights. Saba already has two government-issued documents -- a New York City birth certificate and a Pennsylvania State driver's license -- that reflect their correct gender.
“My request is simple – to have a driver’s license that matches my identity,” said Saba, in a statement they provided to Lambda Legal, which filed suit on Saba's behalf. “It’s demeaning to be forced to carry identity documentation that is inconsistent with my identity. The State of New York should respect who I am, recognize me as nonbinary, and issue me an accurate driver’s license.”
Saba seeks a driver's license that accurately reflects their gender with an 'X' mark.
New York City has already updated its laws to allow New Yorkers to obtain birth certificates that allow for the gender with which they identify, and an X for gender non-conforming.
Carl Charles, a staff attorney at Lambda Legal, said the state is making nonbinary New Yorkers "carry untruthful documentation about who they are."
“Studies show that having inaccurate identification documents exposes nonbinary and transgender people to discrimination, harassment, and violence," said Charles. "By prohibiting nonbinary people from having accurate driver’s licenses, one of the most commonly used and accessible forms of identity documents, New York is limiting their opportunities to fully participate in society and causing ongoing harm to their well-being."
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Governor, told the New York Post the Cuomo administration has not seen the complaint but is examining its state-issued documentation.
“New York recently changed its policies and forms to ensure that the birth certificates of transgender and non-binary individuals accurately reflect their gender identities, and we are reviewing other government documents as well,” said Azzopardi.