God determines your sex … but not on an Alaskan driver’s license

Photo credit: Jason Hargrove

New regulations are set to take effect in Alaska that will allow transgender drivers to change the sex designation on their drivers’ licenses.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state on behalf of a transgender woman. The lawsuit alleged the woman, identified only as K.L., was denied a driver’s license listing her gender as female unless she provided proof she’d undergone a sex change operation. ACLU went to court to appeal an administrative ruling in the case.

Earlier this year, in March, Superior Court Judge Michael Spann ordered the Division of Motor Vehicles to adopt a new regulation. He did not suggest the form or scope of the regulation but advised DMV to take into consideration the “constitutional implications” that such a regulation might have on the right to privacy and protection of “sensitive personal information.” He allowed 180 days for the state to comply.

ACLU worked with the state in crafting the regulation, which underwent public comment. The regulation will still require proof for the change in sex designation but in the form of a licensed provider certifying he or she has been involved in the person’s case and expects the change in description to be permanent.

Whitney Brewster, director of the Division of Motor Vehicles, said Thursday that hopefully this will be a fairly easy process to follow. The division plans to provide a form that will need to be filled out.

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