VICTORY: New York State Commits to Issuing Accurate Drivers Licenses and State ID cards with ‘X’ Gender Marker

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June 23, 2021

Lambda Legal and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have reached an agreement that puts on hold the lawsuit Lambda Legal filed on behalf of Sander Saba, a nonbinary transgender New Yorker seeking an “X” gender marker on their New York state driver’s license. In exchange for putting Mx. Saba’s lawsuit on hold, the State has committed to update its legacy computer system to be able to issue state ID cards and official driver’s licenses with X gender markers by May 24, 2022.  The agreement also commits Gov. Cuomo to signing the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) passed out of the state legislature earlier this month. Consistent with the GRA, the state also agreed that applicants can update the gender marker on their driver’s license by self-attestation, rather than requiring a medical provider’s letter of certification. 

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Carl Charles released the following statement: 

“Lambda Legal’s lawsuit on behalf of Mx. Sander Saba, along with Governor Cuomo’s commitment to sign the Gender Recognition Act into law, will finally rid New York of a discriminatory and outdated policy. This agreement and the years-long work of trans advocates lobbying the state to pass the Gender Recognition Act means that nonbinary, transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers’ right to have accurate, essential identity documents has finally been realized.”

“This change will bring New York up to date with the 19 other states and the District of Columbia that maintain policies respecting the lives of nonbinary people and giving them access to accurate identity documents and the ability to be fully themselves in their day-to-day lives.”

Plaintiff Sander Saba also released the following statement: 

“I’m really glad we were able to come to an agreement in a way that proved to me, a resident of New York, that the State and its agencies care about me as an individual, and care that I am being accurately represented. I hope that other trans and non-binary folks in the state feel similarly seen and accepted. I look forward to the State’s continued progress in acknowledging and promoting the rights of trans and nonbinary New Yorkers across the state. The work is far from done—but this is a significant step in the right direction.”

The agreement includes the following:

  1. Commits Governor Cuomo to Sign the Gender Recognition Act into law in order to resolve the Saba case;
  2. New York State agrees to fully update the DMV computing system by May 2022 to start issuing driver’s licenses with “X” gender markers;
  3. The state agreed that applicants can update their gender marker on their ID by self-attestation without the need for a doctor or provider certification letter;
  4. If Gov. Cuomo does not sign GRA, or the state cannot complete the update on time, Mx. Saba can (and will) resume their lawsuit.

Read more about Saba v. Cuomo lawsuit here