Trans Rights Advocacy Leads to Real Change in Illinois

It's not every day that we receive positive policy updates, particularly for the LGBTQ community. A recently announced Illinois policy change includes a third gender option, "X" gender, as well as allowing transgender, intersex, and non-binary people to change their gender marker on their Illinois driver's license and state identification cards with relative ease. Previously, the changing of the gender marker required medical proof in the form of a letter from a physician or mental health professional in support of one's transition. In some states, proof of SRS (Sexual Reassignment Surgery) is required. We strongly support the idea of removing barriers and "gatekeepers" that prevent individuals from living as their authentic selves.

This change is important because it removes some barriers that prevent individuals from needing to show proof and receive some sort of endorsement prior having their primary identification match the gender they identify with. This eliminates the need for finding trans-affirming providers and all of the barriers that come along with that; such as insurance coverage/cost, discrimination, lack of qualified professionals, long wait times, physician/surgeon "lifestyle requirements," misinformation, and other confusion to accessing this medical proof of gender identity.

This policy supports the safety and security of transgender and gender expansive adults. Having identification documents that reflect ones' gender expression is important in not only reducing social dysphoria but also the anxiety that can accompany these interactions which require identification such as entering a bar or other instances in which showing ID is necessary. Although this policy does not include other identification documents such as birth certificates and there remains a lot of work to be done, we will allow, accept, and appreciate the small victories and forward progress. We also are happy to be a support to individuals who are continuing to struggle in navigating some of these systemic barriers and challenges.

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