Oregon followed the District of Columbia’s lead this week in starting to offer gender-neutral licenses — but whether the “non-binary” IDs will pass muster with the Transportation Security Administration is up in the air.
The TSA for years has been tightening ID standards as part of a post-9/ 11 security pushing.
Asked about the changes in Oregon and D.C ., TSA assistant press secretary Michelle Negron acknowledged policies permitting residents to list a gender other than male or female are relatively new.
Were working to develop guidance, she told Fox News. In the meantime, she said they do not anticipate changes to screening procedures. She said officers will remain focused on ensuring that the ID presented is not fraudulent and that the traveler matches the photo on the ID and name on boarding pass.
TSA right now is focused on get states into compliance with the REAL ID Act, a 2005 statute defining minimum standards for state-issued licenses and identification cards that can be used to access federal agencies and airports. On Jan. 22, 2018, the TSA will no longer accept any ID that does not satisfy those standards.
Oregon officials are confident those who choose not to identify their gender will not have problems flying.
At this phase, we don’t expect any travelling issues, but this is new territory for the whole country, told David House, Oregon DMV spokesman.
D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau consulted with the National Center for Transgender Equality when drafting her bill, with the express purpose of ensuring compliance with REAL ID.
But Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law group, argues federal law under REAL ID specifically requires gender be listed on any identification documents, in turn stimulating the D.C. and Oregon IDs invalid.
Part of the disarray results from a 2008 regulation issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The regulation states DHS would leave the determination of gender up to the Nation since different State have different requirements for when a transgendered individual should be identified as another gender.
Oregon began planning to move to non-binary IDs in June 2016 after a country tribunal ruled in favor of nearby residents request to change gender from female to non-binary.
California and New York are poised to make similar changes. On May 31, Californias state Senate passed the Gender Recognition Act, which would add a third gender — non-binary — to male and female on official state documents. It is under consideration in the state Assembly.
DMV officials in D.C. and Oregon advised the federal government and local law enforcement and corrections agencies of their plans prior stimulating the changes, but neither received feedback from the TSA.
Hayley Gorenberg, general counsel for the Lambda Legal Foundation, said there shouldnt be issues since the U.S. recognizes foreign passports with multiple gender categories. Pakistan lately joined Canada, India and Australia in offering multiple gender options.
The fact that the U.S. government accepts and has no issues with foreign passports[ that have alternate gender categories] shows that it can function fine, Gorenberg told Fox News.
These IDs more accurately reflect the individual and are consistent with international airline criteria, she said.
The International Civil Aviation Organization( ICAO ), which develops standards for the production of passports, has allowed an X field to be used since 1996.
Potentially complicating matters for the federal government is a pending lawsuit being submitted by Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran and intersex person.
Since 2014, Zzyym has been trying to obtain a U.S. passport for utilize traveling overseas, but the State Department has repeatedly rejected Zzyyms application for an intersex passport.
The department permits individuals who transition from one gender to another to amend their passport to reflect their sex, but does not distinguish an individual who is born with both male and female characteristics.
Lambdas Gorenberg told Fox News the lawsuit simmers down to a matter of fairness and is recommending the court to act expeditiously. Lamba Legal is representing Zzyym in the lawsuit against the State Department.
In its latest application denial, the State Department informed Zzyym they were unaware of generally accepted medical standards for evaluating a transition to any sexuality other than male or female.
On June 26, a federal tribunal in Colorado awarded Zzyyms request to have the lawsuit reopened.
Jay Wu, of the National Center for Transgender Equality, which helped write the D.C. law, said he hopes that developments like the new D.C. and Oregon policies will encourage more organizations to treat everyone with respect irrespective of gender.
Even those states that do not move toward gender-neutral IDs will have to consider how to handle D.C. and Oregon licenses.
Brandy Brubaker, media liaison for the DMV in neighboring Virginia, said IDs like the new D.C. license represent an emerging issue about which the state is researching and trying guidance.
As far as Oregon licenses, House noted bars and other establishments often repudiate out-of-state IDs for a myriad of reasons.
Setting aside the issue of the non-binary license alternative, Oregon is moving to get into compliance with REAL ID by the end of the year, after having gotten an extension. Merely two states — Missouri and Minnesota — are currently considered out of compliance with that 2005 statute and did not get an extension.
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