Indiana shelves bill on requirements for ID gender change

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Indiana lawmakers have shelved a bill that would have made it harder for residents to change their gender on driver’s licenses or state identification cards.

The bill was removed from the Indiana House’s calendar Tuesday. It would have required a certified and amended birth certificate to complete a gender identity change on credentials issued by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The bureau currently accepts certified doctor’s notes when processing gender changes.

The bill came after the BMV announced it was offering a third gender identifier, “X,” for transgender or nonbinary residents who don’t identify as male or female. Indiana law requires every application for a driver’s license or ID card to include information about the applicant’s gender.

Lawmakers decided to hold off on the birth certificate requirement amid concerns about birth certificate inconsistencies, said House Speaker Brian Bosma. Some birth certificates may list a person’s sex or gender, while others don’t include such information, he said. Documentation varies county by county and sometimes hospital by hospital.

A special task force or study committee may need to be formed to study the issue, Bosma said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana criticized the proposed bill.

“Accurate identification is necessary in many areas of everyday life, and yet, elected officials want to force gender nonbinary people to carry identification that does not accurately identify them,” said Katie Blair, director of advocacy and public policy for the ACLU of Indiana. “This is not only humiliating, but can also invite discrimination and, in some cases, violence.”

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