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New policy makes it simpler for transgender people to change gender on IDs

REAL ID driver's license
Michigan Secretary of State

A new state policy makes it faster and easier for people to get a Michigan ID or driver’s license that matches their gender identity.

MichiganSecretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the policy change Monday.

It says people will no longer have to show a new passport, an amended birth certificate, or a court order to change the designated gender on a state ID.

“People who would like to correct their sex designation on their IDs would only need to complete a form, come into a branch office and have their photo taken,” Benson said. “This is going to eliminate significant cost and logistical challenges and other obstacles for the transgender community.”

They would also have to pay a nine-dollar fee and swear an oath.

Benson says this process is similar to how gender identity changes were handled by the Secretary of State until recent years. She says the new rule is also consistent with requirements in the federal REAL ID law.

“We’ve always enabled people to correct their sex designation on their IDs. What we’ve done today is just return to a simpler policy that was in place in the past before the topic became politicized,” she said.

The ACLU sued the state in 2015 demanding a policy similar to this one. The ACLU cheered the new rule, saying this allows transgender people to get an accurate ID.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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