California is one of many states that has added a nonbinary gender option to its licenses — at a cost to the resident taxpayers.
In lieu of just having the traditional “M” and “F” options, for male and female, on state driver’s licenses, a number of states, including California and Massachusetts, have considered or already offer a third option for people who identify as neither, or a blend of elements from both.
In California, for example, non-binary residents have been able to claim the “X” marker in the gender spot on their licenses since the outset of 2019. Oregon was the first state to offer the mark for IDs in 2017.
However, the addition of the non-binary option comes at a cost for states, as reported by Fortune.
A representative from the California Department of Motor Vehicles told the publication that adding the option took 5,000 hours, cost $880,000 in one-time costs and $45,000 in ongoing technology-related costs. A Maryland DMV representative told Fortune it cost the agency an estimated $220,500.
Pennsylvania, which has only initiated the process of updating its licenses, said the costs were already at $120,788.
Other states that offer the third option include Arkansas, Maine, Utah, Minnesota and Vermont.
Massachusetts began offering the option last month.
Similar measures are underway in New Hampshire and Hawaii.
A study from the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 2.7 percent of Minnesota youth identified as transgender and gender nonconforming – a pattern that appears to be both more prevalent, and on the rise, among younger Americans.