Lawsuit: Too many obstacles to changing gender on state ID - WNEM TV 5

Lawsuit: Too many obstacles to changing gender on state ID

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A trial is scheduled for next year after six transgender Michigan residents, with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Char Davenport is a transgender woman and LGBT advocate. She said her only form of identification that doesn't reflect she's a woman is her Michigan driver's license.

"My driver's license has an M for male on it," Davenport said. "And anytime I have to write a check, I have to reveal a very private and intimate detail about myself as well as medical information I'm not comfortable with sharing."

Currently the State of Michigan requires a birth certificate to change gender on a driver’s license. But in Michigan, getting gender changed on a birth certificate requires the person undergo gender reassignment surgery. The lawsuit alleges that is something not every transgender person wants, or can afford to do. The Secretary of State’s office requires that the gender on someone’s driver’s license match the birth certificate.

"We feel that's just unfair," Davenport said.

The lawsuit states that federal laws don’t require a person have sex reassignment surgery to have their gender changed on documents like Social Security records.

Davenport said allowing transgender men and woman to better represent their new identities on their licenses would help prevent harassment and help others recognize the person they've become.

"A lot of people could just breathe easier knowing every time they go to the grocery store, they don't have to out themselves to a total stranger," she said.

Earlier this month a U.S. District judge denied a motion to dismiss the case, paving the way for a trial next year if the two sides can’t reach an agreement.

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