Man: Simplifying of gender change process for licenses ‘overdue’

Local News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS/AP) — A day after Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced changes to make it easier to correct genders on licenses, a local man is applauding the move.

Monday, Benson announced those wanting to correct the sex designation on their license can go to a branch office to have their photo taken, fill out a form and pay $9. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order. The move makes it easier for transgender people to get a driver’s license or state I.D. card.

Benson announced the policy change at a news conference in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, where she was joined by LGBT advocates. Benson says studies show that about 80% of Michigan’s transgender population lacks proper identification.

Benson says the change returns to a policy that used to be in place. She added the feedback she’s received is positive.

“I’ve been overwhelmed at the extraordinary enthusiasm we have seen from the transgender community,” Benson said. “This change is seen as one that is welcoming them, including them, ensuring they are heard and seen, but it’s also about privacy and safety.”

Liam Singleton, a transgender man who lives in Grand Ledge, shares the enthusiasm.

“I was really, really excited,” he said when asked how he felt when he heard about the changes. “I felt like it was long overdue.”

Singleton says for him, the process before was out of reach, adding he’d tried to change his license in the past, but was told he did not have the right documents.

“It just kept seeming like so many hoops I had to jump through,” he said. “It just was, not impossible, but extremely difficult and discouraging.”

Singleton says not having the correct gender on a driver’s license can make simple things, such as getting a drink at a bar, more difficult. He added now that he’s able to get his license corrected more easily, he does not plan on wasting any time in doing so.

“I actually was telling my friends and family that I was going to go to the office and get it taken care of as soon as possible, because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Singleton said.

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