O’Melveny Worldwide

Non-Binary New Yorkers Can Get Accurate Drivers’ Licenses by Summer 2022—Thanks to O’Melveny

June 25, 2021


NEW YORK—June 25 2021—O’Melveny, working with the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, achieved a significant victory for non-binary New Yorkers seeking an “X” gender marker on their drivers’ licenses.

On June 24, US District Judge Lewis Liman approved a tentative settlement that guarantees access to an “X” gender marker by June 2022. The victory came after nearly a year of litigation—and on the same day New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the state’s landmark Gender Recognition Act into law, which expands protections for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers.

O’Melveny represented Sander Saba, a non-binary New Yorker who challenged the New York Department of Motor Vehicle’s policy of requiring a binary “M” or “F” gender marker on all state drivers’ licenses. In July 2020, O’Melveny filed a complaint against Governor Cuomo and the DMV Commissioner alleging that the state’s refusal to issue Mx. Saba a license with a non-binary gender marker violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as the First Amendment and New York’s state public accommodations law.

“Our lawsuit challenged the state’s discriminatory policy that categorically prohibited non-binary people from obtaining an accurate driver’s license that reflects their gender, instead forcing them to choose either “male” or “female,” said O’Melveny partner Hannah Chanoine, who led the pro bono O’Melveny team.

“This victory will now bring New York in line with the 19 other states that have granted non-binary citizens the right to an accurate drivers’ license. We are proud to join the Lambda Legal Defense Fund to help protect the rights of non-binary individuals like Sander,” Chanoine added.

Along with Chanoine, the O’Melveny team included partner Dimitri Portnoi, counsel Shane Hunt, Amanda Genovese, Adam Haberkorn, associates Caitlin Boucher, Alex Duran, Khadija Syed, and alumna Laura Keeley.

To learn more about O’Melveny’s award-winning pro bono program, visit our pro bono page or download our most recent pro bono program review.

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Brandon Jacobsen
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
+1 213 430 8024