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Maybe I’m too old for a politically correct, non-binary world

Fate can be a funny and ironic friend. My 54th birthday approaches with the shocking quickness of a starving kitten racing to get a discarded gas-station baloney sandwich. My aging brain keeps bamboozling me into believing I'm still 25, a guy brimming with eternal optimism, sporting a cascading mane of long hair and an unbreakable spirit.

Reality returns whenever I catch a glimpse of a mysterious old man looking in my direction whenever I pass a mirror.

Life hands out a new set of rewards and responsibilities with each passing birth anniversary. At 16-years-old, we are legally allowed behind the wheel of a car. The age of 18 officially ushers us into manhood (or womanhood) when we’re eligible for military service and voting. And 21 gives each of us the power to saunter up to any bar and legally order a refreshing adult beverage. But as we age, the birthdays become a little less of a celebration and a little more a reminder of our inevitable, and increasingly approaching, doom.

As luck would have it, on the same day I received a "Notice to Renew" from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the State of Connecticut made a bold announcement offering non-binary gender designation on licenses. Every eight years you've got to head down to your friendly neighborhood DMV or participating AAA member, fork over a $72 renewal fee, and have a mugshot taken to continue the privilege of driving. This year will prove to be especially exciting, however, since I'll be given the choice of choosing my gender designation. Imagine! Fifty-four years after the doctor grabbed my legs, held me upside-down, and welcomed me to the planet with a gentle whack on the rear end, I can choose/change what sex I am!

The choices: female, male, or non-binary.

Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted, "Connecticut residents have the option of selecting ‘non-binary’ for the gender identification on their @CTDMV driver's licenses and ID cards. We have a responsibility as a state government to be inclusive across our customer experiences."

On the same morning, DMV Deputy Commissioner Tony Guerrera added that “offering a non-binary option had been one of the department’s top priorities” since he and commissioner Sibongile Magubane were appointed by Gov. Lamont last year.

That’s the top priority?! Not addressing the typical four-hour DMV wait or otherwise improving the notoriously poor service?

To be completely honest with you, I really wasn't sure what non-binary meant until I looked it up. Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex. But it is not necessarily so, as some intersex people are also non-binary.

Confused? Me, too.

Not to minimize the importance of equality for non-binary individuals, the more I thought about it, the more the whole idea sounds a little restrictive. Why isn't the DMV offering a designation for androgynous, asexual, cisgender, gender-expansive, gender-fluid, genderqueer, intersex, pansexual or transgender individuals?

I clumsily navigated through four years a public high school, followed by four years of college. Three decades later, I'm considering hiring legal counsel in an attempt to secure a full or a partial refund from both Waterford High School and Old Dominion University since the teachers and professors at both these fine institutions taught me there are only two genders, male and female. I sat in the most advanced high school biology classes available, while in college I took part in dissecting a human cadaver as part of advanced anatomy and physiology. I never saw or learned of a non-binary.

Without sounding unsympathetic, non-binary presents itself as more a feeling or a desire and less about actual medical facts. Except for the small percentage of the population born as intersex — meaning individuals born with physical variations of sexual characteristics that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies — we are either born male or female.

About 1.4 million Americans, and slightly more than 12,000 Connecticut residents, consider themselves transgender with about 35% of those individuals identifying as non-binary. That breaks down to about 4,300 people essentially altering the protocol of the DMV

This is not a straight, gay, bisexual or any lifestyle issue. People should be allowed to live their lives how they are and any way they wish, without being judged, persecuted, stigmatized or bullied. But a non-binary choice on a driver’s license is not about sexuality, it’s about a leap into the abyss of political correctness.

Anatomy, pure and simple, dictates gender.

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.


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