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Arkansas will no longer permit residents to identify as “X” rather than male or female on state-issued drivers’ licenses or identification cards, officials announced Tuesday.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said it would rescind rules that allow license holders to change their gender “without any verifiable information,” or to use “X” in lieu of gender. Those rules were put in place in 2010 to allow transgender, nonbinary or intersex residents to change the sex listed on their licenses and IDs. 

“This policy is just common sense. Only women give birth, men shouldn’t play women’s sports, and there are only two genders. As long as I’m Governor, Arkansas state government will not endorse nonsense,” said Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.3

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The rule change must be approved by a legislative committee of the Arkansas General Assembly. If the policy moves forward, all previously issued licenses and IDs with the “X” designation will remain valid through the existing expiration date, the department said. Residents will have to update their gender when they renew their license or ID. 

The move is the latest effort by a Republican state to legally define sex as binary, which critics say is discriminatory towards transgender and nonbinary people and creates uncertainty for intersex people — those born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia or an internal reproductive system that is not considered typical for a male or female. 

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person holding transgender flag

“This proposed policy seeks to erase the existence of non-binary and intersex Arkansans by denying them identity documents that reflect their true selves, forcing them into categories that do not represent their identities,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas said in a statement.

At least 22 states and the District of Columbia allow “X” as an option on licenses and IDs. Arkansas has more than 2.6 million active driver’s licenses, and 342 of them have the “X” designation. The state has about 503,000 IDs, and 174 with the “X” designation.

DETRANSITIONER WARNS GENDER IDEOLOGY COULD HAVE ‘LONG-TERM RAMIFICATIONS’ FOR KIDS: THEY ‘CANNOT CONSENT’

Arkansas state capitol building

DFA Secretary Jim Hudson said the discontinued policy was not supported by state law and had not gone through the public comment process and legislative review required by state law. 

“This change announced today reflects a commonsense approach that ensures a license or ID issued by the State of Arkansas is based on objective, verifiable information,” said DFA Secretary Jim Hudson. “All of our stakeholders in law enforcement, other government agencies, caregivers, schools, and businesses depend on DFA-issued licenses and IDs to keep our communities safe and to prevent fraud.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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