Stella Maxwell
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Indiana Is Trying to Make it Harder to Change Gender Markers on IDs

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will hold a public hearing Monday on proposed new rules that would make it more difficult for Hoosiers to change their gender markers on driver’s licenses.

Under the current system, someone who wants to change the gender marker on their ID can bring an amended birth certificate or a letter signed and dated by a doctor to a BMV branch themselves. 

Now, new rules proposed by the BMV would impose multiple additional hurdles for trans and nonbinary Hoosiers who are trying to obtain IDs with the correct gender marker.

“In order to change gender identity under the proposed new rules, a person would have to get a form from the Department of Health and then have their physician sign it stating that the person ‘has been under my care and has received appropriate clinical treatment for transition,’” reported the Tribune Star on Saturday.

“They then have to mail the form back to the department with a photo ID. The department will mail back a confirmation that the individual will take to a BMV office to get the revised ID,” the Tribune Star continued.

Advocates say that the new rules will worsen the existing obstacles faced by trans and nonbinary people in the state.

“What it’s going to do is that it will make it more difficult and more dangerous for our clients to get an accurate identification and that’s going to put them at risk,” said Megan Stuart, the director of the LGBT Project at Indiana Legal Services.

Many trans and nonbinary people do not medically transition, meaning it might not be easy to obtain a note from a physician saying they’ve received “clinical treatment for transition.” 

Indiana began offering driver’s licenses with the gender-neutral “X” for nonbinary people earlier this year. But the change only came after a group threatened to sue over the limited options.

The state says it will no longer issue any gender-neutral IDs until the new rules are finalized, though it is still working with people to change their gender markers under the current system from male to female, or vice versa.

Having the wrong gender on an ID can endanger trans and nonbinary people. Nearly one-third of trans people reported being harassed, denied services, or attacked for having an ID with a name or gender that did not match their presentation, as reported by the National Center for Transgender Equality. It can also lead to feelings of dysphoria or anxiety.

Tags: News

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