State of Alabama sued over driver license for transgender people

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  • The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two transgender women, Destiny Clark and Darcy Corbitt, and an unidentified plaintiff.
  • It called on the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to remove the requirement and to make the process in requesting for change of gender simpler for transgender people.
  • Julie Ebenstein of ACLU’s Voting Rights Project said that the status quo violated several transgender rights, such as intruding their privacy, violating equal protection under the law, and impeding their ability to vote.

A civil rights group sued the state of Alabama over what allegedly was a discriminatory practice against transgender people by requiring them to present a proof of gender reassignment surgery before being issued a driver license, according to transgender news stories by AL.com posted on February 7.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two transgender women, Destiny Clark and Darcy Corbitt, and an unidentified plaintiff.

It called on the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to remove the requirement and to make the process in requesting for change of gender simpler for transgender people.

Embarrassment and danger

According to the Clark Corbitt and advocates, the current requirement made them vulnerable to embarrassment and may even put them in harm’s way.

Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, explained, “Driver licenses matter for transgender people’s safety… Every time you show your license, you’re outed as trans.”

Arkles said that many trans individuals do not want to disclose their gender identity, but their everyday encounters such as purchasing from a store or being in a job interview would force them to present their driver license.

When the gender marker on their license does not correspond to their gender identity, they can be vulnerable to ridicule, allegations of fraud, or discrimination.

For Corbitt, she was motivated with her experience at a Lee County license office in Opelika, where she recalled the clerk changed from treating her with respect to unfriendliness upon discovering her gender.

“This clerk chose to humiliate me by loudly discussing my gender identity in a room full of strangers,” Corbitt said. “The state of Alabama does not have the right to define our identities or our worth.”

Clark, on the other hand, wanted to make sure future generations wouldn’t go through the embarrassment they dealt with presently.

Transgender rights violation

Senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, Julie Ebenstein, said that the status quo violated several transgender rights, such as intruding their privacy, violating equal protection under the law, and impeding their ability to vote.

She also cited that 80 percent of transgender individuals in Alabama don’t have the identity documents that accurately describe their gender.

ACLU had pursued similar legal action against the state of Alaska in 2011 and Michigan in 2012. In both cases, the states decided to drop proof of surgery requirement.

In 2106 guide released by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), Alabama is one of the nine states that made evidence of sex reassignment surgery compulsory.

The association noted the increasing move to simplify the process in order to limit liabilities of state agencies in holding personal medical information.

“The general trend in recent years is jurisdictions replacing requirements to submit proof of surgical treatment with standards that focus on the gender in which individuals live in their daily lives, as affirmed by a medical provider, mental health provider, or social worker,” the guide said.

On its website, ALEA stated, “[It is] committed to complying with all State and Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, citizenship, age, or physical or mental disability.”

Via

About Maki 212 Articles
Trans advocate, beauty queen, model, runner. Marketing director of myladyboydate.com and mytranssexualdate.com.

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