ACLU Sues Alabama Over ID Requirements for Transgender Residents
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the state of Alabama, saying the state discriminates against transgender people who try to get a drivers license or state-issued ID. Alabama requires proof of gender reassignment surgery in order for transgender residents to get a state-issued ID that matches their gender identity.
“The government has no business dictating what treatment transgender people get, especially as a prerequisite for a basic government service,” the ACLU said in a statement on Tuesday. “After all, it has nothing to do with how people drive.”
The lawsuit, which is similar to successful suits has filed by the ACLU in both Alaska (in 2011) and Michigan (in 2015), seeks no monetary remuneration but only that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency drop the proof of surgery requirement.
It was filed on behalf of three transgender residents of Alabama: Darcy Corbitt, Destiny Clark, and an unnamed third plaintiff.
The ACLU states that, while some transgender individuals undergo gender-confirmation surgery, others either choose not to, or cannot due to the high cost of the procedure. According to Julie Ebenstein, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, 80% of transgender individuals in Alabama do not have a state-issued I.D. that reflects their gender identity, AL.com reported.
“For transgender people with IDs that do not match their gender, everyday experiences can become fraught with fear,” the ACLU is arguing. “Each instance of showing ID could lead to inconvenience, embarrassment, discrimination, or violence.”
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) issued the “Resource Guide on Gender Designation on Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards” in 2016. It has guides on “simplified gender designation change forms” and recommends having confirmation from a medical professional, rather than proof of surgery. According to the AAMVA, nine states, including Alabama, require proof of surgery.
Fortune contacted the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for comment about this suit and will update as necessary.