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Court ruling allows return of nonbinary gender markers on state IDs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A nonbinary marker can again to be added to your state ID at the BMV. The BMV stopped allowing it a few years ago, but an updated court ruling is forcing it to be brought back.

It’s been somewhat of a legal tug of war for several years according to the LGBT Law Project. The branch of Indiana Legal Services that filed the initial lawsuit. While they can again claim this moment as a victory, they do expect new appeals. Now is the time to act.

Nonbinary gender marker options are back, at least for now, and with the proper paperwork.

“Having an accurate and affirming ID is always a cause for celebration because it says to the world ‘this is who I am. Treat me as such,’” said Megan Stuart, LGBT Law Project interim director.

But if history repeats itself, Stuart says it’s not quite written in stone. The debate to allow nonbinary markers for people who don’t identify as a woman or a man kicked off around 2014.

“You can get a U.S. passport with a nonbinary gender marker, and to get that, you just simply choose your correct gender, as you would your height and your weight.”

After some state law clarification, the BMV moved forward with updating it’s systems to allow the option, but after the then-attorney general said the BMV didn’t have the authority to offer them the agency rolled it all back. LGBT law project sued.

“Around the same time, the BMV started complying with the court order, and is now issuing IDs with non-binary gender markers, despite the fact that they’re also appealing the decision.”

Stuart also serves as director of advocacy, and says allowing nonbinary gender markers is a tool that also offers safety. She says if what your ID says doesn’t match with how you present, it can open a person up to violence.

“If you use that ID at the liquor store, at the gas station, wherever it is. If there’s a mismatch with what’s your ID and how you present,” said Stuart. “That is a point where lots of people can be subjected to violence. Having an accurate ID can help prevent that.”

The LGBT law project is a non-profit and will be holding a fundraiser next week to support legal work.

WISHTV received this statement from the BMV:

“The BMV is issuing drivers licenses, permits, and identification cards with a non-binary gender marker as required by a Monroe County court for individuals who provide required documentation. This case is under appeal, and we do not comment on pending litigation.”

Rich Lord, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications