California may be the second state to allow denizens to list “X” as their gender on government documents. I first heard about this when a self-described libertarian posted it in outrage. This particular libertarian is socially conservative so I can’t say that I was surprised that he was upset about this. However, I appreciate this change and believe many other libertarians should:
Libertarians—even those just fine with the gender binary and their place in it—should celebrate the change. It allows people more choice about how to define themselves in a way that is noncoercive and decreases government control.
Should D.C. ever give residents the option to essentially delist their sex/gender from their driver’s license, I would do it. (At least, you know, the next time my license is up for renewal or if there was some sort of online option; I’m not crazy enough to subject myself to the Department of Motor Vehicles any more than necessary.) And I would hope anarchist, libertarian, and limited-government-supporting types of any sex or gender might do the same.
There is no good reason the state, its representatives, and the countless people tasked with checking IDs for one reason or another need to know every individual’s gender or sex.
Even socially conservative libertarians should be able to appreciate the ability to opt out of having information printed on government documentation. There’s no reason why government documents should list a gender. Ideally there wouldn’t be any government documents but if there are going to be such documents then they should contain, at most, a unique identifier and maybe a picture (only because so many services want to see a picture ID). When you’re pulled over, for example, for driving faster than the arbitrarily selected limit, the officer doesn’t need to know anything about you. They only need a unique identifier to give the person in charge of mailing the extortion fee so they can look up where to send the ticket.