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Republican lawmaker proposes crossing out 'X' gender option on Indiana driver's licenses
2019 Indiana General Assembly

Republican lawmaker proposes crossing out 'X' gender option on Indiana driver's licenses

Matt Hostettler

State Rep. Matt Hostettler, R-Fort Branch

INDIANAPOLIS — At least one Republican state representative is in favor of eliminating the "X" gender option on Indiana driver's licenses and state identification cards for Hoosiers who identify as neither male nor female.

First-term state Rep. Matt Hostettler, R-Fort Branch, filed an amendment Tuesday to Senate Bill 324 that would have prevented the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles from issuing "X" licenses by defining gender in state law solely as "male" or "female."

Susie Guyer, BMV executive director of marketing and communications, said the agency this month decided to offer a third gender option to follow the credential standards recommended by the American Academy of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which include an "X" gender identifier.

Under Indiana law, every application for a driver's license or identification card is required to contain information regarding "the gender of the applicant," which the BMV interprets as permitting the "X" option, Guyer said.

House Republicans met privately for several hours Tuesday afternoon to consider, among other things, whether to support Hostettler's suggested addition to a measure that otherwise would provide eligible Hoosier veterans a special disabled parking placard in lieu of a disabled veteran license plate.

When the House reconvened following the caucus meeting, Hostettler did not call his proposed amendment for a vote, and the underlying legislation advanced without changes for final approval by the House Thursday.

A message left with Hostettler's spokeswoman requesting comment on the representative's decision not to seek House approval for his amendment was not immediately returned.

Any lawmaker, including Hostettler, still can attempt to insert the language into any other proposal moving through the General Assembly, so long as it is germane, until the annual session adjourns for the year on or before April 29.

Hostettler is the son of six-term former U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., who unsuccessfully sought the state's 2010 Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana director of advocacy and public policy, condemned Hostettler's proposal, which she said would further marginalize Indiana's transgender community in a state already perceived as hostile to LGBT individuals.

"For people who are non-binary, identification that fails to affirm who they are can trigger the distress of gender dysphoria and contribute to widespread discrimination. Providing affirming and accurate identification is critical to reducing such discrimination," Blair said.

"The ACLU is urging Indiana elected officials to stop their spiteful interference with the current BMV policy and to allow the current inclusion of accurate gender markers on driver's licenses."


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