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Tennesseans Can No Longer Update Gender Markers on Official Documents

Tennesseans Can No Longer Update Gender Markers on Official Documents

People standing in line at a government agency

As of July 1, only one’s sex assigned at birth as reflected on a birth certificate can be noted on identification documents in Tennessee.

Transgender people who live in Tennessee can no longer change their identification documents to reflect their gender identity. As of Saturday, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and other official documents in the state can only reflect a person’s sex assigned at birth.

Tennessee has adopted a law that defines a person’s ‘sex’ as “determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth.” Accordingly, transgender Tennesseans cannot change their ID’s gender if it differs from their birth certificate.

For people who have already changed their documents, it’s unclear what will happen when they apply for renewal. Opponents of the law have many questions about the new statute, and this is just one of them.

“For someone that’s trans, it can mean that they end up being wrongly detained. It can mean that in a criminal justice system, they are wrongly prosecuted, or it can mean that their marriage license doesn’t match what it actually should — that it misrepresents the relationship they have as well,” said Jace Wilder, Education Manager for the TN Equality Project, Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF reports.

The transgender and intersex community is unfairly targeted by this law, according to Wilder.

“Having that sex marker be incorrect, it creates this idea of deviance and of lying, or being someone who is inherently criminal,” he explained.

As a result of the new law, Tennessee may also lose millions of dollars in federal education and health funding.

A court challenge is expected to be brought against the new law, according to Wilder.

“This is a very clear First Amendment issue,” he declared. “This is a clear Fourteenth Amendment issue.”

How the law will be enforced is another area that remains unclear.

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