January 7, 2010 | by Joshua Lynsen
Md. retains gender change option for driver’s licenses

Equality Maryland is welcoming the Maryland Vehicle Administration’s decision to retain — at least for now — its existing system for changing gender markers on driver’s licenses.

The department was considering revising its policy so that amended birth certificates were required to initiate the license update. But in an e-mail to Equality Maryland, the MVA said the policy scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 would not be enacted.

“MVA believes that the current policy on gender designation, which has been in practice for almost a decade, is secure and the procedures we have adopted ensures reasonable accommodation for individuals who are making a gender transition change,” says the e-mail. “At this time, MVA is not effecting a change to that policy.”

But the e-mail notes that “written legal advice” from state Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office “clearly states that MVA’s current policy does not meet all statutory requirements” and work on the issue continues.

Under current state policy, Marylanders can change the gender marker on their driver’s license by providing a physician or psychologist report confirming they are in treatment. The MVA requires annual re-evaluations until the person “meets requirements for permanent gender change.” Under the proposed change, an amended birth certificate would have been required. Birth certificates can be thusly amended only after gender reassignment surgery is completed.

Equality Maryland said in a statement that it was pleased the MVA halted “implementation of this dangerous policy change” and is allowing “for constructive dialogue.”

“There is still work to do,” says the statement, “but for now, let’s take a moment to celebrate.”

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