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ACLU Lawyers Argue That Michigan Secretary of State ID Policy Is Illegal

DETROIT—Lawyers from the ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan argued Wednesday against a Michigan Secretary of State policy that prevents many transgender men and women from correcting the gender on their driver’s licenses and other forms of identification.

The arguments came after the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in May against the state on behalf of six plaintiffs seeking to overturn the policy as unconstitutional and an unnecessary impediment to the recognition and respect of their gender identities.

 Under current policy, which Secretary of State Ruth Johnson implemented in 2011, the state refuses to change the gender on a driver’s license or state I.D. unless the person produces an amended birth certificate showing the correct gender.

However, obtaining an amended birth certificate can be difficult if not impossible. For people who were born in Michigan, state law requires that a person undergo gender confirmation surgery to receive an amended birth certificate. Not every transgender person needs or wants surgery and many people do not have insurance coverage or the money to pay for it. Most transgender people do not undergo such a procedure.

Read the original press release about the case here.