MICHIGAN — It’s now easier for people to get an ID in Michigan that matches their identity.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined transgender advocates to announce that her administration is revising the policy for changing the gender designation on a driver’s license or ID card to make it easier for transgender people to obtain proper identification.
Her office said studies show that nearly 81 percent of the transgender population in Michigan lacks proper identification.
“One of my goals is to reduce barriers for marginalized communities to participate fully in our society. The transgender community has faced both marginalization and violence without proper identification,” Benson said. “This change returns to a policy that was in place before the issue was politicized, and that was utilized by both a Republican and Democrat secretary of state.”
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Effective today, people who want to correct the gender designation on their license or ID card will only need to fill out a form, go to a branch office to have their photo taken, and pay the $9 correction fee for a driver’s license or $10 fee for a state ID. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order. The form is available on the department’s website at Michigan.gov/SOS and at all branch offices.
Joining Benson at the news conference were David Garcia, executive director of Affirmations; Jeynce Poindexter, transgender specialist/victims advocate for Equality Michigan and vice president of Trans Sistas of Color Project; Lilianna Angel Reyes, youth drop-in director at the Ruth Ellis Center and executive director of Trans Sistas of Color Project; and Jay Kaplan, ACLU of Michigan attorney with the Nancy Katz and Margo Dichtelmiller LGBT Rights Project.
Reyes and Poindexter discussed some of the difficulties the trans community encounters when living without proper identification and the benefits attained with it.
“For us, having a state identification that reflects how we see ourselves reduces trauma and stress when having to show your ID,” Reyes said. “It validates who we are, especially in a world where people and systems constantly devalue our identity.”
Poindexter said proper identification in the transgender community helps fight discrimination and reduces the chances for misunderstandings when interacting with law enforcement, health care providers and others.