Pennsylvania to allow gender-neutral driver’s license option

In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 photo, Acting supervisor Lisa Reeder, left, and supervisor Kevin Keylor of PennDOT Driver's License/Real ID Center run a system test on computers in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. (Lake Fong/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 photo, Acting supervisor Lisa Reeder, left, and supervisor Kevin Keylor of PennDOT Driver's License/Real ID Center run a system test on computers in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. (Lake Fong/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Pennsylvanians who prefer not to be identified as neither male nor female will soon have a gender-neutral option for their state-issued driver’s licenses.

The Daily Item of Sunbury reported the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation expects to have the new procedure in place by the middle of next year. It will let motorists use “X” as a third option to indicate gender.

The state joins more than 10 others that have rolled out plans to give residents options.

A transportation department spokeswoman told the paper the agency is able to make the change on its own and does not need authorization from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said that the department made the decision but it’s consistent with his opinions about equity and fairness.

“I believe that we ought to recognize and be supportive of folks who are looking to figure out what their gender identity is,” Wolf said Wednesday after a Capitol news conference on another topic.

Department spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt told The Daily Item the agency plans “a systematic process” to adopt the “X” option.

She said the state’s vehicle code provides authority for the state transportation department to make the change, and officials do not believe it will present any problems in terms of compliance with federal REAL ID regulations.

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