N.H. Becomes 13th State To Add Non-Binary Gender Option On Drivers Licenses

Jul 11, 2019

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire residents will soon have a third, non-binary option for gender indication on state driver’s licenses and state-issued IDs.

Governor Chris Sununu allowed HB 669 to pass yesterday without a signature, while he signed 42 other bills signed into law.

New Hampshire will become the 13th state where an “X” will appear as a third option on state driver’s licenses and IDs for people who don't identify male or female.

The change will cost the Department of Motor Vehicles $25,000 to implement, according to the bill.

Gerri Cannon, a Democrat representing Strafford and the bill’s primary sponsor, has been working to get several LGBT and gender-focused bills passed at the State House.

She said even though the law passed without Sununu’s signature, she’s happy with the outcome.

“It is a statement that even if the governor doesn’t necessarily fully agree with what was there, people’s will can be respected and the law can be put into place,” Cannon said. “For those people who identify as neither male nor female, this is an opportunity for them to have [an] identification document that recognizes them for who they are.”

Cannon also sponsored a bill allowing changes to gender identification on birth certificates, and another that would require schools to have an established discrimination policy. Those bills have passed in the house and the senate and are awaiting the governor’s signature, Cannon said.

Sam Paolini is the director of Wrong Brain, a Dover-based arts collective that hosted an ACLU event in favor of the bill. Paolini identifies as gender non-binary and says legal validation of their identity from the state is important to them.

“I have an inner struggle with validating my own identity, and with a legal validation and an ID that’s issued from the state…that changes everything in terms of my confidence, and speaking up for myself and my own identity,” Paolini said.

The third gender option will be available for state driver’s licenses starting in January.