Indiana residents speak out on proposed BMV gender rule

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Indiana residents spoke out at a hearing about a proposed rule regarding a policy that allows residents who do not identify as male or female to choose a nonbinary option on driver’s licenses.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ new rule would require nonbinary applicants to go through the Indiana State Department of Health to change gender on licenses and identification cards, but State Attorney General Curtis Hill stalled the measure in September because the public wasn’t sufficiently notified.

The BMV began offering residents the option to describe their identity as non-binary, but the policy had been put on hold in October.

Heidi Pezdek of Rushville urged the agency at Monday’s rule-making hearing to not fall into what she called a “new social agenda.”

But attorney Megan Stuart, who opposes the rule for a different reason, said going through the health department is an unnecessary step.

The new process requires residents to download a health department form and have their physician sign it. Then, they must send that form to the department, along with copies of their photo ID. The agency will then mail back a confirmation of receipt of a physician’s statement on gender change. That form must then be turned in to the BMV.

Stuart said the rule unfairly targets transgender people. She noted how height, weight, eye and hair color are all self-reported on the state-issued IDs.

“If I have grown, gained weight or gone completely gray I can simply walk into the BMV and update my ID,” she said. “I don’t need to go to my doctor and get a letter confirming my height or weight.”

Peter Lacy, BMV Commissioner, declined to comment, the Journal Gazette reported.

John Aukerman, of Anderson, said the BMV is compromising the integrity of licenses, and law enforcement needs to know the sex of a person so that proper procedures are followed.

If the BMV adopts the final rule with no changes, the attorney general and governor would review it in December.

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