Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Trans Floridians risk being outed due to new ID rules


Story by Sommer Brugal 

Steven Rocha (He/Him)
Policy Director Prism 

When Steven Rocha received his new driver's license — one that matched his gender expression — he nearly cried.

  • There were so many spaces he would have to present his ID, and as a queer transgender man, it was "always kind of uncomfortable and sometimes scary depending on where I was to essentially be outed by my license that wasn't up to date."

Why it matters: Without identification that matches their gender expression, trans Floridians face the risk of being outed at every traffic stop, visit to the polls, beer run, hotel check-in and more, advocates say.

  • In a survey of 1,100 trans Floridians, 37% of respondents said such a situation led to denial of service, harassment or assault.

  • That data was collected in 2015, years before a recent surge of GOP-led legislation in Florida and across the country thrust trans people and gender identity into the spotlight.

Driving the news: Transgender advocates staged six "die-in" demonstrations across Florida earlier this month objecting to a new state rule barring transgender people from changing the gender markers on their driver's licenses.

  • About a dozen young people protested in front of the DMV just east of Little Havana, carrying trans flags and homemade tombstones that read "The Florida DMV killed me," written in both English and Spanish, and "Hate kills."

  • Rocha led the demonstration in both English and Spanish, explaining that he wanted to reach those who don't consume English-language media, which has been "where most of the coverage has really been," he tells Axios.

The big picture: The ID rule follows restrictions on health care for both trans children and adults, limitations on how trans teachers and students can refer to themselves in schools, and bans on using certain restrooms.


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