ACLU files transgender lawsuit against Alabama

ACLU files transgender lawsuit against Alabama

By Ellen Ratner   
ACLU is supporting transgender rights in Alabama. (Courtesy photo/ACLU

LOS ANGELES — The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Alabama, claiming the state discriminates against transgender people who want to change the gender designation on their driver licenses.

The ACLU is asking for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to drop a requirement that people must show proof of gender-reassignment surgery before the gender marker can be changed.

The suit was filed on behalf of two transgender women, Destiny Clark and Darcy Corbitt, and a third, unidentified plaintiff.

In a conference call on Tuesday, Clark and Corbitt and their supporters said the current requirement is embarrassing and dangerous.  Privacy, due process, free speech and due process are the four areas that are being disputed in the case.

Clark said Alabama will not allow her to change drivers license.

In 2011 Darcy Corbitt took the first step toward living the life she was meant to have.  In August 2017, she said she was humiliated at the Department of Motor Vehicles. She was assigned a male at birth but always identified as a woman. “She insulted me by referring to me as he,” she said.

She said she was able to change passport and social security but not her Alabama driver’s license.

ACLU attorney Julie Ebenstein said the requirement affects other rights by not changing drivers license but also creates barriers such as the right to vote. The most common used ID in Alabama is the driver’s license.

How other states handle it?

Alabama is one of nine states that still require proof of surgery. The federal government requires a letter stating that people have had appropriate treatment. Both Georgia and Oklahoma are two of 14 states with similar restrictions.

In 2011 the ACLU filed a similar suit in Alaska and a year later the state dropped the proof of surgery requirement.

“Driver licenses matter for transgender people’s safety,” said Gabriel Arkles, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “Every time you show your license, you’re outed as trans.”




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