- - Thursday, July 6, 2017


Members of the D.C. Council are sometimes puzzled by why the rest of the country doesn’t take seriously their schemes to make Washington the 51st state. As city-states go, the District of Columbia is neither Florence nor Venice.

Determined to be on the cutting edge of all things “progressive,” the District is determined to endear itself to no one but the like-minded on the nation’s fringe. Seeking to get a step ahead of California or Oregon, the District on June 27 began issuing “gender-neutral” driver’s licenses, with a so-called “nonbinary” option, four days before Oregon became the first state to do so.

Anyone in the District can now request that his or her (“their”) driver’s license not indicate “M” or “F” if they consider themselves “gender-fluid” or “gender-nonconforming.” Such motorists can choose instead an “X” — standing for either, neither, or perhaps both. That’s not XX or XY, as in female and male chromosomes, respectively, but just “X.”

“The safety and well-being of all Washingtonians is my top priority,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser explains, “and whenever we are presented with an opportunity to improve the lives of residents and better align our policies with D.C. values, I will take it.” She does not address the danger of pot holes and graffiti defacing landmarks and traffic signs.

Exactly how adding a faux third “gender” option to driver’s licenses enhances anyone’s safety or well-being, or how it improves lives, is far from clear. But it does speak volumes about “D.C. values.”

As further encouragement of the District’s push for statehood, D.C. Council member David Grosso introduced legislation last month to transform Miss Bowser from a mere mayor to a governor, and rename the council the Legislative Assembly. The Washington D.C. Preferred Terms Establishment Act of 2017 would recast council members (the District’s euphemism for “aldermen”) as “representatives.” Not even senators. The council chairman would become speaker of the assembly.

First in line at the DMV for a new driver’s license was one Nic Sakurai, who as The Washington Post, which keeps up with such things, dutifully noted, “doesn’t identify with a specific gender” and prefers awkward homemade pronouns. Nic Sakurai was assigned an “M” on his birth certificate, but nevertheless “started publicly identifying as neither male nor female in 2003.” At age 36 he might have discovered his actual “gender” by now.

Alas, there’s no provision in Mr. Grosso’s bill to designate a state song, like “Maryland, My Maryland” or “Carry Me Back to Ol’ Virginny.” In the spirit of the District’s new “gender-neutral” driver’s license, one possibility could be country singer Shania Twain’s hit, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and its romantic lyrics: “Go totally crazy/Forget I’m a lady/Men’s shirts, short skirts.”

Similar treasures abound. Who could forget the Beatles’ “Get Back,” with its poetic line “Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman, but she was another man.” Our vote might go to the Kinks’ “Lola,” with the lyric “Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls/It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.” Who can argue with that?

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