Illinois Approves Nonbinary Licenses and State IDs

Those hoping for the new IDs might have to wait years for them to be issued.

Illinois has approved gender neutral licenses and state IDs for its nonbinary citizens, but they could be waiting until 2024 to receive one.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law on Friday, which will go into effect January 1, 2020. However, when the new licenses and IDs will be issued remains to be seen.

Dave Druker, a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office, said Illinois is locked into a six year contract with IDEMIA, a multinational identity solutions company, having renewed its contract last year in order to implement the REAL ID program. State officials hope to implement the changes as soon as possible.

"We’ll be rebidding for a contract with someone who can incorporate the third gender marker," Druker told the Chicago Sun-Times. “If it’s possible to do this sooner with [IDEMIA], then we’re going to do it.”

Druker also said the state would soon allow people to change their gender markers without formal documentation. Individuals looking to update their licenses or IDs are currently required to present a doctor's recommendation.

"This is about people having a legal document that demonstrates who they authentically are as a person," said Mike Ziri, public policy director for Equality Illinois, adding it is "an issue of safety and security."

"Waiting four to five years to enact the new law is a bit silly, so if there’s anything the office can do sooner, I would encourage them to really try," said Stephanie Skora, associate executive director of the Brave Space Alliance.

Illinois joins 14 other states and the District of Columbia in adding a gender neutral option to licenses and state IDs.

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