Why Is Maryland Forcing Transgender Drivers to Have Surgery to Change Their License’s Gender?


Maryland’s transgender community is facing a whole new bureaucratic hoop to have fun jumping through if new DMV rules take effect. Previously, changing your gender on your license required a doctor’s report stating you were in active gender reassignment treatment. New rules, however, will require an amended birth certificate, which requires you going to court — and proving that you’ve had surgery to change your gender. But the bigger question, aside from how this will affect Maryland’s Ts, is this: Why now?

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  • Kropotkin

    Why now?

    It’s most likely because of the Real ID act which will enforce federal standards on states for proper driver licenses. Basically when it comes into full effect everyone will have to have some kind of birth certificate to get a license, which will create a lot of problems for trans people who have been able to get gender-matching ID’s in state that allow getting them without a changed birth certificate or have unclear rules (like California, Oregon, Maryland, etc). This will create havoc for a lot of trans people and my even force them to out themselves to employers and authorities.

    The Real ID is basically compulsitory since Congress included a backdoor provision that if an state’s ID standards don’t match theirs, then their citizens aren’t eligible for security clearances, medicaid, food-stamps, or other federal programs or jobs.

  • Tina

    News flash: Around the country, transgender people are forced to obtain irreversible surgery in order to get their documents gender changed. 3 states forbid changing gender on documents period, surgery or no.

  • julie

    I’ll have to have surgery before I can change my driver’s license in Georgia. I guess when people want to see gender as a binary, a line has to be drawn someone. Having an ‘M’ on my license doesn’t really affect me personally. Most people really don’t look at your ID that closely, and if they do notice, most just don’t care. That was still true when I was running around with a boy’s name and pic on my ID. Maybe some transfolk have employment problems because of documentation? Hard to say.

  • Kropotkin

    “Maybe some transfolk have employment problems because of documentation? Hard to say.”

    Ummmm, if the experience of the majority of the trans people I know are true, then yes. It’s easy for a manager throw a resume/application for a person with an appearance and/or name opposite of the sex that they list on their documentation right in to the garbage. It’s probably the easiest way to get away with discrimination since it’s very hard to prove why the employer didn’t hire you or even call you back.

    I don’t *think* I’ve been subject to discrimination because of that, but I’ll never know otherwise because it’s so hard to tell.

  • Sadie

    This affects more than just the transgender community, this new legislation has serious implications for the undocumented population in our country as well!

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