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Arkansas removes “X” gender option for driver’s licenses

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders Photo by Al Drago/The Associated Press (pool)

Arkansas removes “X” gender option for driver’s licenses

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration on Tuesday said it will no longer allow residents to use “X” as their gender instead of male or female. According to the department, the change is intended to safeguard the integrity of licenses by requiring citizens to use the gender on their original or amended birth certificate.

“The discontinued policy is not supported by Arkansas law and was never subject to public comment and review by the Arkansas Legislative Council,” DFA Secretary Jim Hudson said in a statement. The more than 300 state licenses currently listing “X” as the gender will remain valid through their expiration date, according to the department.

What have lawmakers said about the change? “This policy is just common sense,” Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “As long as I’m governor, Arkansas state government will not endorse nonsense.” Sanders last year signed an executive order to ban “woke, anti-woman” terms like “birthing person” from official state documents.

Where do other states stand on this issue? West Virginia lawmakers last month passed a measure to ensure that birth certificates can only be marked with “male” or “female” as a gender designation. In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt in 2022 banned third-gender options from being used on birth certificates. Meanwhile, more than 20 states currently allow citizens to choose “X” as their gender on their driver’s license, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

Dig deeper: Read David C. Innes’s column in WORLD Opinions about the first government-issued transgender passport.

Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.

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