ACLU Sues Alabama Over Transgender ID Law

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A transgender woman says she was unable to update her gender on her driver’s license because of an Alabama policy requiring proof of gender confirmation surgery.

Darcy Corbitt of Lee County is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Birmingham by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Corbitt moved back to Alabama in 2017 after attending college in North Dakota.

“In spite of successfully completing the requirements of changing my gender on my United States passport, my Social Security card and my North Dakota driver’s license, I was not eligible to change my gender marker on my Alabama driver’s license unless I had or could prove I’d had the surgery,” Corbitt says as she recounts what she calls a humiliating experience she had with a clerk at the Lee County driver license office.

Corbitt says the clerk at one point referred to her as “it” and refused to put female on her driver’s license.

Gabriel Arkles is with the ACLU. He says the Alabama ID policy infringes on the constitutional right to privacy, due process and equal protection.

“Driver licenses matter for trans people’s safety and ability to participate in public life,” he says. “If you have a gender marker on your license that is different than the gender most people perceive when they interact with you, then every time you show your license you’re outed as trans.”

In order to update gender on an Alabama ID, a person must first change their gender on their Social Security card and submit documentation signed by a surgeon verifying completion of gender confirmation surgery. Alabama is one of just nine states with this policy.

The suit seeks to create policies protecting trans people from discrimination. ALEA says it cannot comment on pending lawsuits.