Driver’s license policies impacting transgender individuals have changed in Florida, as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles discreetly communicated the modification to county tax collectors. Previously, residents in Florida had the option to alter their gender marker on licenses by providing either a court-ordered name change or an official physician’s letter confirming gender transition treatment.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the recent prohibition in Florida exacerbates existing harmful policies targeting transgender individuals. Ash Orr, a spokesperson for NCTE, emphasized the significance of accurate identity documents in daily life, affecting activities such as work, voting, travel, and interactions with government institutions.
In a memo, Robert Kynoch, Florida DHSMV’s deputy executive director, stated that “misrepresenting” gender, deviating from the sex assigned at birth, constitutes “criminal and civil” fraud. The memo argues against permitting changes based on an internal sense of gender identity, asserting that it undermines the purpose of identification records and hampers the state’s law enforcement efforts.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles justified the change, indicating that it was initiated by executive director Dave Kerner, aligning policies with statutory law and the department’s authority. The statement emphasized the need for government-issued credentials to prioritize security, reliability, and accuracy.
Florida now joins Kansas in fully prohibiting transgender residents from updating their gender markers on driver’s licenses. Kansas currently has a temporary order in place pending a legal battle between the Kansas Department of Revenue and the Republican attorney general.
Data from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) reveals that several states, including Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, require proof of surgery, a court order, or an amended birth certificate for gender changes on driver’s licenses. These requirements are considered “negative laws,” imposing burdensome conditions that may hinder individuals from making the necessary changes.
Additionally, Montana has implemented legislation defining sex narrowly, preventing changes to driver’s license gender markers, even without a specific law explicitly addressing the matter.