Secretary of State’s office dishonest on gender markers

By |2018-01-15T22:25:39-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|


Dear BTL,

We are pleased that Between The Lines has called attention to the policy flip-flop of the Secretary of State’s office regarding gender marker changes on drivers’ licenses and state identification cards.
We would be remiss if we did not respond to SOS spokesperson Kelly Chesney’s misstatements in the article. Contrary to Ms. Chesney’s assertions, there is no requirement that gender marker change policies be the same for both birth certificates and drivers’ licenses. The birth certificate policy is actually a Michigan statute, whereas there is no law addressing gender marker changes on licenses. A birth certificate and a drivers license/state ID are not the same things, nor used for the same purpose. A birth certificate is a permanent document reflecting the person’s identified gender at the time of birth. It is not used to apply for a job, to cash a check, or requested by law enforcement officers during a routine traffic stop. Unlike the birth certificate, information in a drivers license/state ID can change frequently, such as a change of address or change of name. Although a birth certificate is needed to initially receive a Michigan’s drivers’ license, most requests for gender marker changes occur some time after the person has received the license.
With regards to consistency with other states, Indiana permits gender marker changes with a physician’s statement and does not require sexual reassignment surgery. The same is true for the states of California, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
For several years transgender persons in Michigan were able to obtain gender marker changes on their drivers’ license without the requirement of reassignment surgery. We believe that the current policy flip-flop, which disenfranchises the majority of Michigan’s transgender community who do not have surgery, was motivated more by politics than the desire to be consistent with other policies and states.

Jay Kaplan, Staff Attorney
{ITAL ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.