News (USA)

Texas court says transgender man has no right to change gender on ID

A Texas appeals court ruled last week that a transgender man is not entitled to change the gender marker on his driver’s license, upholding a lower court’s refusal to issue a gender change order.

Judge Martha Hill Jamison wrote that while Texas law “appears to contemplate the possibility of orders relating to gender designation,” it doesn’t provide authorization or detail procedures for such orders to be issued.

She went on to say that even if the law provided for gender change orders, the petitioner had  “did not present any evidence in the trial supporting the proposition that [his] current gender designation is inaccurate.”

Apparently, being a post-operative transgender person who is consistently seen as a man is not enough evidence to suggest an “F” on his ID would be confusing and inappropriate.

“I’ve paid like $2,000 to still have a big fat ‘F’ on my driver’s license, despite being seen completely as a man as well as being post-operative,” said the petitioner, who asked the Texas Observer to withhold his name. “It’s honestly jarring and heartbreaking.”

And while the appeals court noted a lack of clear law around the issuance of gender change orders, some Texas judges do issue them. And the DMV lists them as a requirement for changing the gender on one’s driver’s license.

“I don’t see anything in it that I think is going to change the status quo, because the status quo in 95 percent of the state is, they don’t do it anyway,” Katie Sprinkle, a Dallas attorney who handles identification and gender marker cases, told the Observer. “Worst-case scenario, it goes up to the Texas Supreme Court, and they just put the kibosh on everything. There are at least several hundred thousand Texans that that could seriously adversely affect.”

The petitioner has said he does not plan to take his case to the state’s Supreme Court, but may instead simply try filing for the order in a different Texas county.

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