Michigan Residents Can Now Select Gender Neutral Option on State IDs. Here’s How.

SOS announces easy, 3-step process for correcting Michigan IDs

By |2021-11-19T12:46:40-05:00November 16th, 2021|Michigan, News|

Michiganders who identify outside the male/female binary can finally hold a state ID or driver’s license with the correct gender marker thanks to a new Secretary of State policy.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the change last week during a press conference at Affirmations LGBT Community Center in Ferndale. The new option, which allows nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals to not have to choose a gender marker they do not identify with, is now in effect.

Benson, surrounded by a group of LGBTQ+ activists and allies who she’s been working with on the issue for some time, beamed as she announced their work was done.

“I am proud to offer state identification that bolsters the safety and accurately reflects the identity of more Michigan residents,” said Benson. “For years we have been working with the LGBTQIA+ community and upgrading our own technology to make this possible in order to ensure that government works for all people of Michigan.”

Carrick Copeland from SAGE Metro Detroit, who identifies as nonbinary, said the change would benefit their entire family.

“Every day and throughout the course of history, nonbinary people like me, my partner and my child have been forced to select between limited options that do not represent or include us,” Copeland said. “Each time we navigate this impossible quandary, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people are reminded that we exist among systems that do not validate or even acknowledge our identities.”

Copeland pointed out that according to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s most recent U.S. Transgender Survey “when transgender and nonbinary people have shown a form of identification with a name or gender that did match our gender presentation, nearly a third were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave or assaulted.”

Other activists who spoke include Jey’nce Poindexter Mizrahi of the Ruth Ellis Center and Trans Sistas of Color, Jay Kaplan of the ACLU of Michigan and State Senator Adam Hollier (D-Detroit).

Hollier said he was proud that Michigan is joining the list of 20 other states that already allow residents to select an X marker on state ID cards, a move that he said reflects “our shared belief that all Michiganders deserve the dignity and respect of being known by their true identity.”

“Assigning people a certain binary gender doesn’t conform with reality,” Hollier added, “and I’m proud that Michigan is stepping up to uplift, help and support nonbinary, intersex or gender-nonconforming residents who have been unfairly marginalized by our elected officials for far too long.”

Here’s how to correct your gender on your Michigan state ID or driver’s license: 

  1. Complete a Sex Designation Form, available online and at any Secretary of State branch office.

  2. Visit a Secretary of State office and bring your current Michigan driver’s license or state ID. You are encouraged to schedule your visit for a license or ID correction ahead of time at Michigan.gov/SOS or by calling 888-SOS-MICH.

  3. Pay the correction fee ($9 for driver’s license, $10 for state ID), and have a new picture taken. The updated license or state ID will be mailed within two to three weeks.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Carrick Copeland’s pronouns. They use they/them/their(s); this article has been updated to reflect that. We are sorry for the mistake and regret the error. 

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.