Michigan Transgender Residents Fighting for Right to Change Sex on Driver’s License
Transgender citizens across Michigan are suing the state for the right to change their gender identity on their driver’s license.
Reports indicate that the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson because the agency’s antiquated policy in regards to this issue has make it difficult for residents who have had sex changes to re-identify themselves on their drivers licenses.
The lawsuit is the result of a group of transgender Michigan residents who believe the state’s policy is unconstitutional because it fails to respect transgender identities. Several years ago, Johnson implemented a rule that refuses transgenders the ability to revise their driver’s license unless they have already had their birth certificate amended – a task that is almost impossible.
“By refusing to provide transgender people with identity documents that match their correct gender identity, the state makes it unimaginably difficult for them to navigate their everyday lives,” Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project, said in a statement. “Worse, the policy exposes an already vulnerable group to the risks of repeatedly having to reveal intimate personal medical information that, when divulged in some situations, can lead to discrimination, harassment, violence, and even death.”
According to the complaint, the federal government has already amended its policy for revising legal documentation for the transgender community.
“They have done so by eliminating surgical and other burdensome requirements in favor of policies that allow a gender correction based on a sworn statement or letter from a medical providers confirming the transgender individual’s change of gender," reads the complaint.