Advertisement

Secretary of State Office Agrees to Assist Trans Residents with Gender Marker Changes

In a reversal of previous policy by the Republican secretary of state, some transgender and gender non-conforming Michiganders could soon see their state issued driver's licenses and identifications reflect their gender identity.
On March 17, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced she would no longer rely only on medical documentation of gender reassignment surgery in allowing transgender and gender non-conforming residents to change the gender marker on their state issued identifications. She announced she would instead accept a U.S. passport in issuing gender markers.
"It is a small but important step," said Amy Hunter of the ACLU Transgender Project. "It will allow a fairly significant group of folks to change gender markers without the burden of a surgical option they may not be able to afford or want."
Johnson opposed changing policies related to gender markers and state issued identifications during her initial campaign for office.
"I do not support allowing people to change their gender on their license as a result of surgery or lifestyle," she said in a statement in 2010.
At the time she was in a pitched battle for the GOP nomination for the post with former State Rep. Paul Scott.
Scott entered the race in February with a great deal of attention on his announcement that he would not allow transgender residents to change their gender markers on their state ID cards. The practice of changing one's gender is currently allowed under secretary of state policy with a letter from a doctor stating that the person in question has undergone some type of medical procedure to treat their gender dysphoria.
The move by Johnson at the time garnered the praise of Gary Glenn, then the head of the American Family Association of Michigan. Glenn has since been elected to the state Legislature.
"In an era of identity theft and national security concerns, we're glad that Ruth Johnson has now joined Rep. Paul Scott in expressly stating her opposition to the Secretary of State policy of allowing men to falsely identify themselves as female on their state-issued driver's license, and vice versa," said Glenn at the time. Glenn also leads the anti-gay American Family Association of Michigan. "The people of Michigan should at minimum be able to trust their state government to tell the truth, not enable certain individuals' psychological and emotional delusions by officially and legally identifying them as something they biologically are not. We urge all candidates for secretary of state to let voters know where they stand on this honesty-in-government issue."
State Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, said he was pleased with the move by the secretary, but he wants to see more action.
"We have a lot of work to do to make sure that we fully recognize people's gender identity," he said. "I look forward to working on comprehensive legislative solutions."
Detroit area Democrat Brian Banks has introduced legislation to remove some barriers related to changing gender markers on official state of Michigan identification documents, Hoadley said.
The move by Johnson was motivated in part by an ongoing federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Michigan. That case is still working through the federal court in Detroit.
Ultimately, however, the ability to change gender markers is about "safety" said Hunter.
"There is a risk when the identification does not comport with one's true, authentic gender identity," she said.



Advertisement
Advertisement

From the Pride Source Marketplace

Go to the Marketplace
Directory default
Specializing in anxiety, depression, sexual compulsion,sex therapy, abuse recovery, HIV/AIDS,…
Learn More
Directory default
Comerica Incorporated is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, strategically…
Learn More
Directory default
Become a Friend of LGBT Detroit at http://www.lgbtdetroit.org/supportus BrLike Us on…
Learn More
Directory default
An award-winning shelter providing pet adoption, a low cost/full service veterinary clinic that is…
Learn More
Advertisement