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Alaska to allow transgender individuals to change gender marker on driver's licenses

Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell [official website] issued a regulation on Thursday that allows transgender individuals to change the sex indicator on their driver's licenses without undergoing surgery. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit against Alaska on behalf of a transgender woman, KL, who was told by the Department of Motor Vehicles that her driver's license would be revoked unless she submitted proof of having surgery. The Alaska Superior Court [official website] held [ACLU press release] that the DMV had to produce a new and more appropriate regulation for transgender people within six months. The ACLU praised the new driver's license regulation [press release], saying that it recognizes the important and legitimate needs of transgender Alaskans. The new regulation is scheduled to take effect on August 11.

LGBT rights have been a contentious issue worldwide. Three weeks ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation [JURIST report]. In June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Bulgarian Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva to denounce calls to violence by anti-gay groups in anticipation of a LGBT pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria. During the same month, Ugandan Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo said [JURIST report] that the government was not discriminating based on sexual orientation. The statement came days after the government had announced [JURIST report] that it would ban at least 38 non-governmental organizations that are accused of recruiting children to homosexuality. Earlier that month, a prominent Russian gay rights activist filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) challenging a St. Petersburg city ordinance that prohibits the spreading "homosexual propaganda" to minors. The ECHR ruled that a Moldova law banning gay groups from protesting in front of the country's parliament violated citizens' rights [JURIST report] to peacefully assemble and to be free from discrimination. Last month, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released a report [JURIST report] concluding that in the US, incidents of hate-based murders against LGBT individuals increased in 2011.

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