New policy bans transgender Floridians from changing driver’s licenses to match current gender identity

Floridians who are transgender can no longer change their driver’s licenses to match their current gender identity because of a new policy by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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According to a memo from the FHSMV, Florida driver’s licenses should reflect individuals’ sex assigned at birth and not gender identity.

“Misrepresenting one’s gender, understood as sex, on a driver license constitutes fraud, and subjects an offender to criminal and civil penalties, including cancellation, suspension, or revocation of his or her driver license,” the memo said in part.

Read the memo below:

“I’m mad,” Cindy Nobles, president of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG), an LGBTQ+ advocate group, said after reading the memo.

Nobles said that it’s difficult for people who are transgender to speak out about the new policy.

“A lot of our trans friends and families are afraid to be out in public right now,” Nobles said. “Again, their very existence is being criminalized and being stigmatized. And all they’re doing is living how they’re living authentically.”

Since 2011, transgender people in Florida had two ways to legally change their sex on their driver’s license: a doctor’s note with proof of gender transition treatment or a court order for a name.

Attorney Gene Nichols said a transgender person who changed their identity before the policy went into effect could not be prosecuted.

“They followed the policy that was allowed by FHSMV. If a transgendered person changed their gender on their driver’s license, they were lawfully allowed to do, then there is nothing improper about that,” Nichols said.

Nichols said transgender people can have issues when trying to renew their license, but an individual’s birth certificate will have the final say.

“The FHSMV is going to always look at that birth certificate,” Nichols said.

He also said it’s unclear if this policy could be viewed as a form of discrimination or unconstitutional and that Florida is legally entitled to impose restrictions on driving because it’s a privilege, not a right.

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