US Driving Licences

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A US driving licence is a state-issued document. Therefore, you can go to any DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles; see the link for what it's called in your state) in the state you live in. The people at some DMVs may be nicer and more helpful (and less Transphobic) than others; ask other folks in your area, if you can, where they went and what their experiences were.


NCTE's website now features a map that lets you view the driver's license policies for each state. Just hover your mouse over your state and read the information. The map also lets you zoom in to view smaller states and the District of Columbia. A big thanks goes out to NCTE Intern Kennita Ballard, who contacted each state to gather the information about their policies. Since these policies change frequently, her research will be continually updated by NCTE staff.


Requirements

The requirements for changing the name and/or sex designation on your driving licence or state ID vary by state. See http://www.dmv.org/ to find information for your state. The information may be available online, or you may have to call; if you have to call, depending on what your local DMV is like, it may be faster - and somewhat more reliable - to go there in person and just pick up a copy of the form to take home and read. You will definitely need to bring a certified copy - not a photocopy - of your court-ordered name change when you go to get your new licence. If you are changing your sex, you may be required to bring a letter from your surgeon stating that you've had irreversible surgery to correct your anatomy to that of male/female. However it should be noted that according to Federal law there is no legal requirement to have had surgery to change the gender marker on your licence.

The relevant legislation is reprinted below:

§ 4507.13. Contents and characteristics of license; lamination.

(A) The registrar of motor vehicles shall issue a driver's license to every person licensed as an operator of motor vehicles other than commercial motor vehicles. No person licensed as a commercial motor vehicle driver under Chapter 4506. of the Revised Code need procure a driver's license, but no person shall drive any commercial motor vehicle unless licensed as a commercial motor vehicle driver.

Every driver's license shall display on it the distinguishing number assigned to the licensee and shall display the licensee's name and date of birth; the licensee's residence address and county of residence; a color photograph of the licensee; a brief description of the licensee for the purpose of identification; a facsimile of the signature of the licensee as it appears on the application for the license; a notation, in a manner prescribed by the registrar, indicating any condition described in division (D)(3) of section 4507.08 of the Revised Code to which the licensee is subject; if the licensee has executed a durable power of attorney for health care or a declaration governing the use or continuation, or the withholding or withdrawal, of life-sustaining treatment and has specified that the licensee wishes the license to indicate that the licensee has executed either type of instrument, any symbol chosen by the registrar to indicate that the licensee has executed either type of instrument; and any additional information that the registrar requires by rule. No license shall display the licensee's social security number unless the licensee specifically requests that the licensee's social security number be displayed on the license. If federal law requires the licensee's social security number to be displayed on the license, the social security number shall be displayed on the license notwithstanding this section.

The ORC doesn't actually require a gender marker at all. It only requires "a brief description of the licensee for the purpose of identification." Gender would make the identification process easier, but, if someone is full time, and presenting as a particular gender that was not their birth gender, a more apt description would indeed be that the person is a man/woman in line with presentation. Therefore, by LAW, the gender should match the presentation.


Fee

There is, of course, a fee for getting a new licence or state ID, which varies by state but shouldn't vary by what you're changing - the fee is for the act of printing you a new licence/ID, so whether you're changing your name, sex, address, etc., it's all the same.


States with extra useful info

Alaska

On 11 August 2012, new regulations will take effect that will allow Transgender drivers to change the sex designation on their drivers' licenses. The regulation will still require proof for the change in sex designation, but the requirement will now be simply having a licensed provider certifying he or she has been involved in your case and expects the change in description to be permanent.

In a case brought by the ACLU, an Alaskan court ruled in March 2012 that the state DMV’s refusal to allow Transgender people to change the gender marker on their driver’s license violates their privacy rights under Alaska’s constitution. Due to an earlier invalidation of the DMV’s policy requiring proof of surgery before allowing gender marker changes, the DMV had no gender marker change procedure for over a year. K.L., a Transgender woman, applied for and received a driver’s license marked female, but it was revoked when the agency discovered she had not submitted proof of surgery.

The Alaska Superior Court held that the DMV’s lack of a gender marker change procedure violated Alaska’s constitution. The court found that a person’s Transgender status is “private, sensitive personal information,” and preventing transgender people from obtaining licenses that correspond with their gender identity threatens the disclosure of this information any time they show their license. This is likely the first US case in which a court recognized a Transgender person’s constitutionally protected privacy interests in having the gender marker on her driver’s license match her “lived gender expression of identity.”


California

You can change your name and/or sex designation on your California state ID without a court order using this DL-329 form (PDF file). See http://ftm.livejournal.com/4406690.html for some personal experiences with this.


Hawai'i

Hawai'i is the only US state where no part of the state government performs DMV functions; it has completely delegated vehicle registration and driver licensing to county governments. If you live in Hawai'i, when you call your county probate court, ask about the procedure for changing your name on your driving licence as well as the procedure for making the actual legal change (which, of course, has to happen before they'll change the name on your licence).


Ohio

As of 2009, surgery is not necessary to change the sex on your Ohio state ID. You just have to submit a form signed by your physician or a licensed therapist or psychologist that you are living as the opposite gender, whether surgical procedures have been completed or not. The new form includes space identifying your birth gender, your "gender identification" and your "gender change". Physicians or psychologists must certify that the applicant "is sufficiently ready for, or has completed a gender role transition, and it is intended this role change is to be permanent", according to the form. "This transition may or may not lead to further surgical intervention."


See TransOhio for more information.


Rhode Island

As of June 2012, the RI DMV has created a new form to streamline the process for changing the gender marker on a driver’s license or state-issued ID. The form called the Gender Designation for License/Identification Card form can be found here: http://www.dmv.ri.gov/documents/forms/license/gender_designation.pdf Highlights of the form include allowing a non-licensed case worker or social worker to sign off on it AND the clause which states that "Employees shall not request additional gender-related information beyond that required on the applicable forms or otherwise inquire about the applicant’s private medical history or records".

Please contact Jaye at jaye@youthprideri.org or Trevor at info@tginetwork.org if you need more information.