News (USA)

Michigan just made it super-easy for trans people to correct the gender on their ID

A transgender woman in business attire in an office.
A transgender woman in business attire in an office. Photo: The Gender Spectrum Collection

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has unveiled new policies making it easier for people to change their gender on driver’s license or state identification card.

Effective immediately, Michigan residents can have the gender marker on their ID changed by paying a $9 or $10 fee, filling out a form and taking an updated photo. They won’t need to present a birth certificate, a passport or court order, reports Michigan Live.

Related: Republicans are already trying to block Indiana’s new gender-neutral IDs

The Secretary of State announced the new changes at a press conference alongside Lilianna Angel Reyes and Jeynce Poindexter, of the Trans Sistas of Color Project, a group that seeks to “uplift, impact, and influence that lives and welfare of transgender women of color in Detroit.”

In a statement, Benson said an estimated 81% of transgender Michigan residents lack proper ID. This can create “chances for misunderstandings when interacting with law enforcement, health-care providers, and others,” Poindexter said.

In the past, Michigan required people to have an updated passport or birth certificate in order to change their ID. Utah currently has similar requirements. Now, Michigan joins 14 other states that allow people to change their ID without any additional documentation.

The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that 18 U.S. states currently require trans people to present “certification” from licensed medical or psychological professionals before changing the gender markers on their ID.

While Michigan’s updated policies will make life easier for transgender individuals, the state still doesn’t offer non-binary designations on its government-issued ID cards — 18 other states do.

Four U.S. states — Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota — have unclear, unknown, or unwritten policies for changing gender markers on ID, and nine others require proof of surgery, a court order or an amended birth certificate. Those states are Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

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