“It’s about time”: LGBTQ+ community applauds new non-binary option for Michigan IDs, driver’s licenses

New option available starting Nov. 10

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced on Tuesday that the state would begin offering a non-binary option for state identification cards and driver’s licenses.

Starting Nov. 10 there is going to be a non-binary option for Michigan’s driver’s licenses and state ID cards. Some in the LGBTQ+ community are very supportive of this change.

Original report: Michigan SOS announces non-binary option for state IDs, driver’s licenses

“It’s about time,” Michelle Fox-Phillips said.

Fox-Phillips is the executive director of Gender-identity Network Alliance (GNA) and said the option may be new, but it’s been a long time coming.

“This allows individuals to be their authentic selves, and that’s the more important thing. It validates their identity,” Fox-Phillips said.

She’s referring to people like Raya Hollis, who identifies as non-binary, and goes by the pronouns she and they.

“I was assigned a sex at birth, a female, but my gender presentation is very masculine,” Hollis said. “So, for example, when I go into a bathroom that is assigned female I tend to scare women because I look more masculine.”

Hollis said that X will make a big difference.

“There is always a question of ‘are you really that gender?’ and having the ability to have non-binary as an option is amazing,” said Hollis.

The impact goes beyond an ID or driver’s license, it brings awareness to a term many may be unfamiliar with.

Fox-Phillips defines it.

“Non-binary or gender nonconforming are individuals that don’t conform to the box of male and female.”

Hollis believes it is paving the way for something bigger.

“Making sure that people have the freedom to be who they want on their legal documents, opens the door for more civil rights to be had. For people who are non-binary, being recognized is the first step and then I think getting past tolerance to acceptance is a really big goal.”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said offering this option has been a goal since 2019.

A week prior, October 28, 2021 was the first time the U.S. State Department issued a passport with a non-binary gender marker.

Read: Michigan LGBT rights ballot drive officially dead after appeal denied

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.