NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Since allowing residents to pick a third option, 521 people in Connecticut have been issued driver’s licenses bearing the gender marker “X,” the state DMV confirmed.

“We’re lucky to be in a state like Connecticut where driver’s licenses will now identify you as either M, F or X, for nonbinary,” said Lenny Courtemanche, the director of global prevention, outreach and advocacy at Health Care Advocates International.

The state started offering the nonbinary gender option on licenses in 2020. Courtemanche said it has “made a huge change” in the lives of those who have received the new licenses.

Twenty-two states plus Washington, D.C. have similar laws in place, allowing residents to choose an X gender marker on birth certificates, licenses and other forms of ID.

Connecticut also recently raised the transgender Pride flag over the state capitol in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility.

“I think for Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz to put a flag on top of the state capitol filled with light, you’ve now got a state that said, ‘Yeah, we see you, there’s no need to be ashamed,'” Courtemanche said.

But nationwide, LGBTQ+ issues remain highly politicized. There are close to 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have gone before state legislatures since the start of this year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. At least 17 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, though judges have temporarily blocked their enforcement in some states.

One bill, proposed by Connecticut Rep. Joe Hoxha (R-District 78), would “require public school educators to recognize each student by the biological gender of such student.”

“I believe that teachers and educators should not be able to affirm or encourage a child’s view that they may be a different gender, and I say that because when you’re at that age, you don’t have the capacity to make life-altering decisions, including changing your gender,” Hoxha said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.