Michigan Changes Transgender Policy For Driver's Licenses

WWJ News
November 18, 2019 - 4:01 pm
secretary of state

(Photo: Sandra McNeill/WWJ) FILE


FERNDALE (WWJ/AP) - Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her department is making it easier for transgender people to get a driver's license or state ID card.

Starting Monday, those wanting to correct the sex designation on their license can go to a branch office to have their photo taken, fill out a form and pay $9. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order.

Benson announced the policy change at a news conference in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, where she was joined by LGBT advocates. Benson says studies show that about 80% of Michigan's transgender population lacks proper identification.

In a statement, Dave Noble, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, and Jay Kaplan, LGBT Project staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, applauded the move. 

“This policy is long overdue and common sense,” said Noble. “Thank you, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and your team, for recognizing the transgender community and ensuring that people in Michigan can have accessible and accurate identification.”

“A driver’s license or ID matching a person’s true identity is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” added Kaplan. “It is also a necessity that we have a law in Michigan that explicitly protects people from being fired for who they are. It is way past time for the legislature to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.”

Benson, a Democrat, said the change returns to a policy that was in place before the issue was "politicized."