It may not seem like something that a lot of people will talk about. It’s not Earth-shattering and won’t be breaking news on the news networks. Heck, it may not even get a mention. But a lot think this is a step in the right direction.
The State of Maine recently started to make a change to driver’s licenses and State IDs to have a mark that signifies Male, Female, or an X to say Non-binary. In other words, Maine residents do not have to be assigned a gender on legal identification anymore and can pick a third option, at least on their IDs.
Now, of course, there is more to this story, any change like that in state politics usually has one. The big picture is that Maine State IDs weren’t worth much anymore because they did not follow the code of the Federal REAL ID act that makes state IDs and driver’s licenses up to code for things that require government issues identification to acquire, most notably getting onto and Airplane and things like that, starting next year.
Now, the mark is not made mandatory on the card and is signified by a sticker saying “Gender has been changed to X — non-binary.”. While it’s a start that the state at least recognizes that non-binary people exist, a sticker is not a permanent solution. Stickers wear off and fade. Nothing has been said about how to replace these stickers or anything like that yet. THAT will probably be dragged on while the old white guys from a previous generation trying to figure that out, only when they are pressed to do it. THAT is how Maine politics work.
But, at the same time, Rome wasn’t built in a day either. I’m not going to write that I think a sticker will solve everything in the state. But if it gets you by and gets you on a plane or lets you do whatever you want to do requiring an ID to get it done, It’s a step in the right direction, hopefully.
Maine is not the first to do such a thing either. Oregon and Washington D.C. offer non-gender assignments on their cards as well. So if anything does come up (and here’s hoping it doesn’t) us in Maine would not be alone in figuring out how to solve some problems and hope to find ways to fix them relatively quickly.
It may not be the answer some are looking for, and I get that. A person’s identity shouldn’t be reduced to a sticker or a letter. People are much more than that. But, it will have to do for right now. Some people just aren’t an M or an F, but something has to be put down on those little cards too. Most who see it won’t remember much of it, the counters and admission lines people won’t give a damn as long as it is not fake. I have been there, there are literally lessons you have to take to identify fake IDs. They will not let you sell anything unless you have passed that training.
As I said before, this is a start. Is it perfect? Probably not. There WILL be problems that come up, they always do. Someone always figures out how to cheat the system somehow. But as with most other things, Mainers will have to cross that bridge when we get to it. We aren’t exactly a progressive state so things, unfortunately, are going to happen. Here is to hoping that enough people see what has been going on and progress can be made.