Alabama sued in transgender driver's license case

A federal judge on Tuesday questioned Alabama's requirement for a transgender person to undergo full gender reassignment surgery before they can change the sex on their driver's license, suggesting that a license that contradicts a person's public appearance essentially marks them with a "scarlet letter T."

Posted: Jul 30, 2019 10:26 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday questioned Alabama's requirement for a transgender person to undergo full gender reassignment surgery before they can change the sex on their driver's license, suggesting that a license that contradicts a person's public appearance essentially marks them with a "scarlet letter T."

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson held a hearing in the 2018 lawsuit filed by three transgender women seeking to change the gender on their state license.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the requirement to show proof of sex-altering surgery is an unconstitutional violation of privacy and a person's ability to make their own medical decisions. The ACLU said Alabama differs from most states and the federal government that allow people to change the gender identity on a government-issued ID without proof of surgery.

Thompson denied both sides' requests for summary judgment in their favor. He said he will rule later if the case will go to trial or it will make a decision based on submissions to the court.

While he did not rule in the case, Thompson noted the violence faced by transgender individuals after a state attorney contended the Alabama policy treats everyone the same. Thompson said a person would be publically disclosed as transgender if they present a license that does not match their daily public appearance.

"You might as well have a scarlet letter T," Thompson said. "Transgender people are actually attacked and killed for who they are," Thompson said.

Assistant Attorney General Brad Chynoweth told Thompson said the state has a law enforcement interest in proper identification and has a simple rule on changing gender designation.

"We are not requiring people to get surgery," he said.

ACLU attorney Gabriel Arkles said the requirement is the state deciding who is "real woman or enough of a man" and takes away the ability of transgender people to conduct their lives with dignity.

While some transgender people get full sex-altering surgery, the ACLU has said that not all transgender people can afford it or may not want it for various reasons, including preserving the ability to have children at a later date.

"The state should not be in the business of regulating what medical care people get," Arkles said.

Arkles said of one of the plaintiffs in the case was told she "would burn in hell" after showing her license at a bank.

Darcy Corbitt, one of the plaintiffs, has previously described how she was subjected to "blatant cruelty" when she went to get her license after moving back to Alabama to pursue her doctoral degree at Auburn University. She said the clerk's friendliness evaporated when she saw her previous Alabama license listed male under gender and then began referring to her as "it" and "he."

The ACLU has said Alabama is one of about nine states that require proof of surgery to change the gender identification on a state ID.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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