Having to turn over your license to the police can be stressful for anyone. But if you’re transgender, that stress is amplified—especially when the gender on your license doesn’t match the way you look and self-identify. Every time you show an ID that fails to match your gender to a store clerk, security guard, or TSA agent, it can be worrisome or even traumatic and is a constant reminder that the government doesn’t recognize your gender. 

The federal government has made it easier to correct the gender on federal IDs and records, but states set the rules for gender changes on birth certificates and driver’s licenses, and there is still a long way to go. Many states require you to jump through a complicated set of hoops to correct your ID if you are even allowed to make changes to it at all. Surgery is still required for an accurate ID in many states, forcing people to choose between possessing an accurate ID and refusing unwanted, unnecessary, and potentially expensive medical treatment. 

The ACLU is working to lessen or get rid of the hurdles transgender people face in securing identity documents with the name and gender that accurately reflect their identity. We’re fighting to overcome these barriers through litigation and policy advocacy, with the ultimate goal of making sure that everyone can express and define their gender and be respected for who they are.

If you feel you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of your gender identity or sexual orientation, we may be able to help.  You can click here to fill out our confidential online form.  For non-LGBT issues, please contact your local ACLU affiliate.

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