ACLU sues Michigan over driver’s licenses for transgender individuals

MLive.com reports Nessel cited finances as a reason for suspension.

MLive.com reports Nessel cited finances as a reason for suspension.

Michigan

DETROIT — Six transgender Michigan residents sued the state Thursday over its strict policy on changing gender identities on driver’s licenses.

The secretary of state will change the gender if someone also submits an amended birth certificate. But a new birth certificate for a Michigan native requires proof of transgender surgery, and most transgender people don’t want surgery, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said.

“By refusing to provide transgender people with identity documents that match their correct gender identity, the state makes it unimaginably difficult for them to navigate their everyday lives,” said ACLU lawyer Jay Kaplan.

Michigan’s policy is creating different consequences, depending on the birth state of a transgender person, according to the lawsuit, which seeks to have the policy declared unconstitutional.

Four of the six plaintiffs were born outside Michigan. Three cannot change their driver’s license because their birth states, Ohio and Idaho, don’t allow them to change gender on a birth certificate. Another needs a court order to change the certificate in his native state, South Carolina.

Secretary of state spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau declined to comment on the specific allegations but said gender information on a driver’s license must match a birth certificate.

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The lawsuit describes embarrassing situations for the six people who are suing Michigan.

“When Tina Seitz had to show her driver’s license at a retail store to pay with a check, the clerk looked at her license and said, ‘That’s not you,'” the lawsuit states. “The clerk eventually dropped it, but the experience took place in front of other customers and was therefore very humiliating for her.”

The plaintiffs are Seitz of Macomb County, Codie Stone of Kalamazoo County, Emani Love of Detroit and three other people identified only by their initials.

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