Maryland Postpones New Transgender Driver License Gender Marker Requirement

Equality Maryland has some good news. MVA has postponed a change to it's gender marker requirements for transender people. The previous change would have required that a transgender person produce a birth certificate in order to document the requested gender marker change on his/her driver licence.

That requirement, should I still be living in Maryland, would have denied me the opportunity to live my life in the pursuit of happiness as my birth state of Ohio is one of two states that will not amend or issue a new birth certificate regardless if sexual reassignment surgery had been performed or not.

Thank god for little mercies, but wait! They are not finished yet! They admit that the procedure that has been in place for a decade has been effective but they are still considering making statutory changes.

This leaves the door open so as EQMD states "this is a victory" for now insuring we don't slide backwards but it is only that, only a temporary stay.

Please support Equality Maryland's efforts across the board!

email from Equality Maryland:

Dear Friends,
As you know, the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) was looking at requiring an amended birth certificate in order for transgender individuals to update the gender marker on their driver's license. It was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2010. This would have required going through the court system. Additionally, a birth certificate change can only be done if the sex of an individual has been changed by surgical procedure.

After literally hundreds of calls and e-mails into the offices of the Governor and the Attorney General, we just received wonderful news - the proposed policy has been halted.

The Attorney General's office shared the following statement from the MVA:

MVA believes that the current policy on gender designation which has been in practice for almost a decade is secure and the procedures we have adopted ensures reasonable accommodation for individuals who are making a gender transition change. At this time, MVA is not effecting a change to that policy. However, written legal advice received from the Office of Attorney General clearly states that MVA's current policy does not meet all statutory requirements and we are therefore continuing to work with the Office of Attorney General before making a final determination on whether a policy update is appropriate.

The MVA intends to stick with current procedures; however, they continue to assert that the policy may not meet all statutory requirements. Equality Maryland and our partners will work to convene relevant stakeholders to either secure a change in the statutory requirements or assess possible policy revisions. We have already scheduled a strategy meeting in the New Year.
Having a legal identity document that does not match a person's gender exposes them to potential risk not just of embarrassment, but of harassment as well. We are pleased that the MVA was willing to halt the implementation of this dangerous policy change in order to allow for constructive dialogue. There is still work to do, but for now let's take a moment to celebrate.

All the best to you and yours this holiday season,
Morgan Meneses-Sheets
Executive Director
Equality Maryland

Equality Maryland press release: MVA Delays Implementation of Harmful License Policy

P.S. Support our efforts to protect the rights of transgender Marylanders! We are on the front lines with you everyday working to update and enhance the protections that exist for transgender Marylanders and avoid rollbacks like the proposed policy. Help us keep up the fight by visiting Equality Maryland.org today and making a donation!

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