Transgender communities concerned after changes to Florida license requirements

The state of Florida has made changes that now bar transgender people from putting their gender identity on their licenses, as opposed to their gender at birth.


“In Florida, you do not get to play identity politics with your driver license,” said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Director of Communications Molly Best. (FLHSMV) requires satisfactory proof of identity, including your biological sex, to the Department.

“It puts a target on our back,” said Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality.

Nikole Parker is one of the transgender people now worried about what comes next now that they can’t choose their gender on driver’s licenses.

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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released a memo on Friday making sex assigned at birth, not gender identity, the determining factor for someone’s gender. This impacts replacement licenses and those who need a new license.

The state said the switch is important to enhance the security and reliability.

“It puts law enforcement in a very, very awkward and tenuous position,” said Law enforcement consultant Randy Nelson.

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Nelson said the changes could hinder someone from being identified accurately and is concerned about the impacts across communities that weren’t involved in the decision-making process.

“I know we’re divided there (as a state. Just about everything, not only social and cultural,” said Nelson.

Parker changed their ID to correspond with their gender identity nearly a decade ago. They feel what’s happening now is moving things in the wrong direction.

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“At the end of the day, we’re human beings like everyone else. Just trying to live authentically. And each year we just consistently see legislation that is against us and trying to make us not be able to live authentically,” said Parker.

People can get in trouble if they somehow misrepresent their gender on Florida licenses.

The state said that person could be subject to criminal or civil penalties, including getting their license cancelled, suspended or revoked.

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