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North Carolina OK's LGBTQ+ Vanity License Plates

North Carolina license plates

You can now express "GAYPRIDE" on license plates in the state.

Motorists in North Carolina can request personalized license plates that include terms related to the LGBTQ+ community after more than 200 previously forbidden terms were removed from the state's Do Not Issue list.

License plates with the words "GAYPRIDE," "LESBIAN," and "QUEER" were previously not available to purchase, public radio station WFDD reports.

However, for the first time in twenty years, the state's department of motor vehicles reviewed its policies on forbidden words at the direction of DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, according to the station.

Initially, a team from the department's vehicle services division reviewed the list. Then, after identifying entries as questionable, they referred them to a committee of communications and legal staffers from the Department of Transportation and the Office of Civil Rights. As a result, 239 items were removed from the list, including more than two dozen terms related to LGBTQ+ communities.

"Anything on the do not issue list should not include the LGBT community," Goodwin told the station. "I don't know how long the terms that relate to the LGBT community were on that list. But with my administration they are coming off."

Still prohibited, however, are the terms "BISEXUAL" and "GAYS0K," as well as some terms relating to reproduction and ethnicity.

Goodwin said that the review process is ongoing and that words currently on the list may not be there forever.

"Things can slip through," Goodwin explained. "My aim is to be consistent with our approach, no plates of hate in this state."

To that end, his office has recalled at least eight license plates issued in error and containing offensive terms.

All of them included combinations of spellings that resulted in antisemitic phrases, WFDD reports.

Goodwin acknowledged the challenges in policing language but notes that some applicants try to be slick.

"Folks are crafty and conniving with the combination of letters," Goodwin said. "And then there are folks who say that, 'Well, this is the name of my child,' but the name of their child happens to be a name that in general parlance is not considered a name, but is considered offensive."

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