Minnesota Offers “X” Gender Option on Driver’s Licenses

The "X" means someone doesn't identify as a man or woman

MINNESOTA — You’ve been able to check the “male” or “female” box when applying for a Minnesota Driver’s License.

But now you can also check a box with an “X” next to it. It means you’re non–binary, or don’t identify as a man or a woman.

To say years of hiding her true identity took its toll on Katrina Koesterman would be an understatement.

“It was a matter of life and death. I either come out or I disappear and I wasn’t going to disappear,” Koesterman said.

So she appeared in front of everyone she knew and told them her truth: that she was transgender.

Or more specifically, an androgynous female, meaning Koesterman is non–binary but identifies more as a woman.

“To have to tell these people who had known me for 20 years that hey, I’m not the gender you thought I was, it’s scary at first. So having fewer obstacles in the way is helpful,” Koesterman said.

One less obstacle is in the way for every transgender or non–binary person when they choose that “X” option their Minnesota Driver’s License.

It’s a move in the right direction Koesterman says is telling people they can be themselves.

“The more society is welcoming, to transgender and non–binary people, the more we’re going to see people come out of the closet because they’re going to feel more welcome,” Koesterman said.

A Minnesota’s Driver and Vehicle Services Department spokeswoman says the third option is meant to “better serve all Minnesotans” and comes while planning for the REAL ID system.

“That would be good for the people to feel that they belong and to feel they are heard,” said Sofia Perez of Moorhead.

Minnesota is one of the first states to make such a move. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to everyone.

“It’s 2018, I’m surprised it took this long, but go Minnesota,” said Estefany Martinez of Pelican Rapids.

Now that Minnesota has made the change, some are hoping that it’ll be enough for other states to follow suit, including North Dakota.

“Fargo is just full of so many millennials and people trying to make change and everything so I think that it will go in that direction just not anytime soon,” Martinez said.

“It’ll take a while, there’s a lot of people that would not agree with that,” said Jessica Rojas of Pelican Rapids.

Until other states jump on board, Koesterman will continue taking pride in the place she calls home.

“The fact that Minnesota is opening this third option makes me proud to be a Minnesotan to be perfectly honest,” Koesterman said.

Although not every state has the third gender option, Minnesota licenses with the change will still be valid in them.

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