Lawsuit over Michigan IDs for transgender people moves forward

Nov 19, 2015

A group of transgender individuals is suing Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson over how the state handles changing someone’s sex on a driver’s license or state ID. We talk to plaintiff Tina Seitz and Jay Kaplan, the staff attorney for ACLU Michigan’s LGBT Project.


Tina Seitz is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson over being identified as male on her driver's license.
Credit Courtesy photo / Tina Seitz

You need a driver’s license for a lot of things, like grabbing a drink after work or going through the security check at an airport. But some transgender people in Michigan say the state makes it impossible for them to get accurate state ID's.

Michigan requires that the gender listed on a state ID match a person’s birth certificate. Those challenging the policy say it requires them to provide private medical information and puts them at risk of harassment and violence. They are suing Secretary of State Ruth Johnson for allegedly violating their constitutional rights.

The state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit was denied earlier this week by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds.

Current State talks with one of the plaintiffs, Tina Seitz, and Jay Kaplan, the staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project.