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DMV streamlines process for gender change on NC driver’s licenses

The North Carolina DMV has released a new “sex designation form” that will make it easier for some transgender people to get the proper gender on their N.C. driver’s licenses and state identification cards.

The new form replaces the requirement for a surgeon’s letter when changing  the gender marker on such cards. While it still requires authorization from medical providers, it allows for a broader range of types of medical providers. The new form is the one already in use by 21 other states and recommended by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

The new form does still insist on “male” or “female,” which does not acknowledge transgender people who identify as non-binary (neither male or female). Still, several groups working on behalf of LGBTQ North Carolinians called it progress.

“We still have a long way to go before LGBTQ North Carolinians are seen as equal citizens in the eyes of the law, but this is one step in that direction,” said Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson.

“People of all genders shouldn’t have to face invasive questioning and surgical requirements just to have their government identification reflect their true identity,” Johnson said. “Trans men are men and trans women are women — period.”

Equality NC Policy Director Ames Simmons, himself a transgender man, said too many transgender people have trouble getting accurate ID.

”As recently as 2015, 77% of transgender North Carolinians responded to the U.S. Transgender Survey that they had not updated a single form of identification, putting them at risk of harassment and violence whenever they present that ID,” Simmons said. “DMV’s policy update will put accurate ID in the hands of more trans people in our state and help to reduce violence based on gender identity and expression.”

Sarah Gillooly, Director of Political Strategy & Advocacy for the ACLU of North Carolina, called the move a step in the right direction.

“Driver’s licenses are basic forms of identification that many people use to participate in public life, and this policy update will help transgender North Carolinians do just that,” Gillooly said.

 

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