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Michigan introduces landmark self-ID system for changing gender on driver’s licenses

Nick Duffy November 19, 2019
People in Michigan can change their legal gender by filling out a one-page form

People in Michigan can change their legal gender by filling out a one-page form (Photo: Nick Duffy)

Michigan has launched a streamlined system for people to change their gender on driver’s licenses.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Monday announced a new policy to streamline the process for transgender people to correct the gender marker on a driver’s license or state ID.

People in Michigan can change their gender in 5 minutes for $9

Under the changes, people can change the gender listed on their license or ID card by filling out a one-page form and paying a $9 fee.

They will no longer be required to obtain a court order or provide an amended birth certificate or passport in order to gain legal recognition in their chosen gender on state documents.

The new simple declaration says: “I, [name], request that the sex designation on my driver’s license or state ID card read: [Male or Female].”

The Michigan form takes less than 5 minutes to fill out, so you will probably spend longer in the queue at the DVLA
The form takes less than 5 minutes to fill out, so you will probably spend longer in the queue at the DVLA

People changing their gender are required to sign a disclaimer affirming “under penalty of perjury, that this request to change the sex designation on my Michigan driver’s license or state ID card is to ensure that my driver’s license or state ID card accurately reflects my identity and isn’t for fraudulent or other illegal purposes.”

Changes reduce risk of discrimination against trans people with incorrect IDs

In a news release, Benson said: “One of my goals is to reduce barriers for marginalized communities to participate fully in our society.

“The transgender community has faced both marginalization and violence without proper identification.”

Jeynce Poindexter of Equality Michigan explained that the change helps fight discrimination, and reduces the risk of misunderstandings when interacting with law enforcement and healthcare providers.

Lilianna Angel Reyes of the Trans Sistas of Color Project said: “For us, having a state identification that reflects how we see ourselves reduces trauma and stress when having to show your ID.

“It validates who we are, especially in a world where people and systems constantly devalue our identity.”

Similar self-ID systems operate in several countries around the world with no issue.

More: gender, Michigan, self-ID

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