When many of us are at the bank, the airport, or even just a bar, we don’t think twice about pulling out our driver’s license or passport to prove who we are. For transgender individuals, however, if the way they look and feel on the outside doesn’t match the gender marker on their ID, it can put them in a tricky situation. It can cause them to miss flights, get questioned by the authorities, or in some cases, make them immediate targets for public humiliation, hostility, or violence. Almost half of the states in this nation require proof of reassignment surgery, a court order, or both before allowing a gender marker change on state-issued ID cards or a driver’s license, which leaves many transgender people out of luck. Procedures are cost-prohibitive, rarely covered under insurance, and not always desired.
In Indiana, a letter from a physician that confirms that the person is transgender and is undergoing treatment is sufficient to change the gender marker on a state-issued ID, allowing appropriate treatment to be somewhat individualized. In Kentucky, however, proof of gender reassignment surgery is required.
Despite the Trump administration’s promise to not reverse federal LGBTQ protections, many advocates feel there is significant reason to consider the administration to be unfriendly toward members of this community. Due to the President’s Cabinet picks, the Vice President’s legislative record, and the proliferation of “bathroom bills,” many female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF) individuals anticipate that it will become increasingly difficult to obtain gender-affirming documentation at both the state and federal levels. This type of concern has sparked what can only be called a dramatic surge of people seeking such documentation. Grassroots campaigns are raising awareness and facilitating efforts with workshops and pop-up clinics to help transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals to obtain forms of ID that accurately represent them.
Among other resources, the Transgender Law Center has published an online guide and hosts webinars as a response to the high demand for more information. What the transgender community faces is a constantly changing patchwork of laws regarding the requirements for changing gender assignment on various forms of ID. Passports are currently perhaps the easiest to obtain, and pack a punch as a form of identification. They can be an alternative to birth certificates, which are often significantly more challenging to change. They are also fairly universally accepted forms of ID. Moreover, passports don’t require proof of surgery, which makes them easier to get than many state-issued ID documents, but applying for a passport costs money and must be renewed every ten years.
No one who is dealing with transgender issues should also have to worry about being treated fairly and respectfully by a legal professional. The experienced lawyers at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law are here to help – without judgment. If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the Indiana gender reassignment document attorneys at Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law. We have years of experience helping people and we can help you. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentucky and Indiana including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Harrison County, IN. Contact us by calling (812) 725-8224 or using our online form.