BY BTL STAFF
MICHIGAN – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan is seeking support for its advocacy in changing State policy regarding gender markers on State IDs.
For several years the group has advocated for a change in the gender marker on State IDs or Driver’s Licenses from the current policy to an updated form allowing for transgender Michiganders to have proper representation on their identification card.
Current policy states that transgender residents must first have the gender marker on their birth certificate amended, which means presenting an affidavit from a surgeon post-sexual reassignment surgery, even though no specific surgical procedure is required.
“Despite three years of conversations and discussions, the Secretary of State’s office is refusing to change its current policy, despite the fact that it results in most transgender persons in Michigan having incorrect ID, creating a myriad of problems for them in their daily lives,” Jay Kaplan, LGBT project lawyer for the ACLU Michigan chapter, said.
Thirty-three Social Security and State Departments from around the nation do not require sexual reassignment surgery to change the gender marker on state IDs. However, the Michigan policy does. This creates several problems for the trans communities.
This practice eliminates a majority of trans identified individuals who cannot have surgery because of the cost and the fact that most insurance companies do not currently cover the procedure. Also, the procedure can be extremely medically harmful and interferes with the autonomy of the individual to make their own decisions regarding medical procedures.
Secondly, for individuals born out of state, their birth state may require them to file a lawsuit requesting a court order to have their gender marker changed on their birth certificate; this process requires both travel and additional expenses.
And thirdly, for those born in Ohio, Tennessee and Idaho, their birth certificates cannot be altered or amended under any circumstance.
“We are exploring what other options may be available to have the policy changed, including possible legal action,” Kaplan wrote in a press release earlier this month.
Kaplan and his team want to hear from trans identified individuals in the state who are unable to obtain gender marker changes on their IDs and who have been harmed by their inability to have accurate identity documents.
Reach out to Kaplan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 313-578-6812.