On April 24th 2012 a new regulation to protect our freedoms as transsexuals went into effect. The Commonwealth of Virginia has simplified the process of getting your gender marker changed on your drivers license to reflect your gender identity. In a landmark policy change, the Commonweath of Virginia has amended it's regulation so that an individual may have their gender marker changed to reflect one's gender identity without regard to a time frame when one anticipates having a surgical procedure. Indeed, one may not even be on Hormonal Reassigment chemotherapy to qualify to have her gender marker changed. Prior to the enactment of the new regulation, one had to be within 18 months of a planned surgery.
This new regulation has untold value for us and is such a leap forward for the Commonwealth of Virginia in becoming one of the states with cutting edge policy in protecting Transsexuals' rights on Aril 24th 2012. It is a powerful tool to ensure our rights are protected just as anyone else enjoys as a citizen of the Commonweath. It opens up a tremendous number of opportunities for us if we are
willing to experience new challenges. No longer will be we subject to discrimination for using the appropriate bathroom publicly. Your identification supports your use of the appropriate bathroom legally. It also is a passport to a new job or career, or simply going back to school.
Here is the release that I got yesterday from the Virginia Trans Health Initiative, another agency of the Commonwealth. It has the link to get the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain the proper form.
"Virginia embraces a SIMPLE mechanism for changing one’s gender marker on a driver’s license. As of April 25, 2012, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) implemented a new, and much simpler, policy for changing one’s gender marker on a VA driver’s license. Individuals can now use the Gender Change Request form, known as DL-17, which requires only a signature from a licensed provider, including a doctor, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, social worker, or counselor attesting to the fact that the applicant is a patient of the provider and that the applicant’s “gender identity” is either female or male and “can reasonably be expected to continue as such for the foreseeable future.” The form does not require proof of surgery or even proof that the applicant is engaged in hormone therapy. Link to form: http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/dl17.pdf
Until now, the VA DMV policy required proof of sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) evidenced by a letter from a surgeon or a court order recognizing a gender change. In most states, such a court order depends on proof of SRS. This requirement made it very difficult for many individuals to obtain a VA identification card accurately reflecting their gender."
We are living in a time where we women of transsexual experience are being allowed to take our place in society on an equal level. It is early, things are not perfect, but we should also rejoice in the progress as we gather ourselves to identify the next significant human rights advance to be confronted.