Driver Sues NY Over Licenses That Limit Gender to ‘M' or ‘F'

The lawsuit challenges the state policy limiting gender identity on licenses to either male or female, and the nonbinary transgender person on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed called the current policy discriminatory

New York DMV sign
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

A 25-year-old seeking a New York driver’s license with a nonbinary gender identity marker of “X” sued the state in federal court Tuesday.

The lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Sander Saba challenges the state policy limiting gender identity on licenses to either male or female. Saba, a nonbinary transgender New York City resident, said the current policy is discriminatory.

“Just knowing that my identity is not recognized by the state weighs on me,” Saba said in a phone interview.

The recent law school graduate said presenting an inaccurate license at a bar, a bank or at school can be “stressful, complicated and confusing.”

The lawsuit filed in federal court in New York City names Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles as defendants.

Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said they have yet to see the federal complaint. But he noted that the state recently changed its policies to ensure that birth certificates accurately reflect the gender identities of transgender and nonbinary people, “and we are reviewing other government documents as well.”

Saba already has two identity documents with an “X” marker: a New York City birth certificate and an earlier driver’s license from Pennsylvania, which is among more than a dozen states that issue such licenses, according to Lambda.

Saba wants to exchange the Pennsylvania license for a New York state license.

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