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Transgender individuals sue Alabama over driver's license policy

[JURIST] Three transgender individuals on Tuesday sued [complaint] Alabama over its driver's license policy requiring transgender people to show proof of sex reassignment surgery in order to change the gender indicator their on driver's licenses.

The plaintiffs claim that this policy is discriminatory because it both denies transgender people access to identification and forces them to release medical information in order to receive driver's licenses. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit [press release] on behalf of these people, and is asking a federal judge to overturn Alabama's policy.

Alabama is one of nine states that still requires [ACLU blog] proof of sex reassignment surgery in order to change the gender indicator on its driver's licenses. For many transgender people, sex reassignment surgery is both important and necessary, but this is not the case for all transgender people, and others cannot afford to get the surgery.

According to the ACLU, for transgender people with IDs that do not match their gender identity, each time they show their ID could lead to embarrassment, discrimination or even violence. A 2010 report showed [Southerners On New Ground report] that having ID with the incorrect gender indication made transgender people have a harder time getting jobs as well as made them afraid of calling the police.

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