Proposed changes to the rules allowing Hoosiers to legally change their gender on their driver’s licenses creates a process that is cumbersome and bureaucratic, critics say.
The public will have a chance to be heard Monday when Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is holding a hearing on the proposed changes. One of the issues involves allowing people to change their ID to a neutral X rather than choosing male or female.
Under the current process, which has been in effect since 2009, an individual can go to a BMV license branch and amend the existing credential, said Christine Meyer, the director of communications and public affair for the BMV. Acceptable supporting documents include a certified amended birth certificate, a physician’s statement of gender change or a letter signed and dated by a doctor citing specific language in state regulations.
The BMV is processing gender changes under the current rules, Meyer said, but will not approve a change from male or female to an X or gender neutral symbol until the rules are in place.
In order to change gender identity under the proposed new rules, a person would have to get a form from the Department of Health and then have their physician sign it stating that the person “has been under my care and has received appropriate clinical treatment for transition.”
They then have to mail the form back to the department with a photo ID. The department will mail back a confirmation that the individual will take to a BMV office to get the revised ID.
“The BMV will not process any additional X applications until the rule change is complete,” Meyer said. “Once the rule making is complete, the State Department of Health will work with applicants and walk them through the process of receiving an amended birth certificate or the necessary state form should the applicant not be a native Hoosier.”
Rep. Chris Chyung, D-Dyer, said he believes the rules changes are cumbersome and shouldn’t be changed.
“What’s really ridiculous to me are rule changes that add needless bureaucracy and government inefficiencies to a process that has not had any issues,” he said.
Megan Stuart, the director of the LGBT Project at Indiana Legal Services, said she believes that this new rule will be much more difficult for transgender and non-binary Hoosiers.
“What it’s going to do is that it will make it more difficult and more dangerous for our clients to get an accurate identification and that’s going to put them at risk,” Stuart said.
Stuart also said that by not having proper gender identification on the license and other ID cards, it could out many transgender and non-binary people as being transgendered.
Micah Clark, the executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, argued that there needs to be a male or female designation on official IDs in the event there is a police or medical emergency.
“Who frisks gender X, is it a male police office or a female police officer?” Clark asked.
Clark compared the process of changing a person’s gender to changing the registration on a car.
“I can’t go into my BMV and say ‘Hey, I’ve got a red Honda Civic but I really think it’s a Ferrari. I really identify it as a cool car’ I want it to be something different regardless of the VIN number,” Clark said.
The overwhelming number of written and emailed comments to the proposed rule changes filed with the BMV were negative.
“Please discontinue wasting time and resources to consider “Gender X” driver’s licenses. The sex on each person is not flexible,” one Hoosier said. That was typical of the negative comments where some urged the state to not give in to the politically-correct crowd.
The public hearing is 9:30 a.m. Monday at Indiana Government Center South.
Brandon Barger is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.