In a quiet yet significant policy shift, Florida officials have seemingly revoked the ability for transgender residents to change their gender markers on driver’s licenses. A leaked memo from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reveals that the department has abruptly ended its practice of reissuing licenses to update gender markers, reinstating the view that “gender” is synonymous with “sex” based on “innate and immutable biological characteristics.”
The memo, dated January 26 and posted by independent journalist Alejandra Caraballo, suggests that as of January 30, DHSMV computer systems already disallow changes to a registered driver’s gender. While no official confirmation has been made, Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani appeared to validate the memo’s authenticity, indicating that this move is part of a broader effort to undermine legal recognition for trans individuals in the state.
Florida Democratic Party leaders echoed concerns, accusing Republicans of an unwarranted obsession with trans issues. FDP chair Nikki Fried singled out Governor Ron DeSantis, alleging a pattern of covert rule changes throughout his administration. The move aligns with a series of proposed bills that, if passed, would restrict legal recognition of trans identities, defining “sex” as a genetic binary and necessitating an affidavit declaring “biological sex” for driver’s licenses.
The leaked memo also hinted at potential civil and criminal fraud charges for “misrepresenting one’s gender” on official identification, raising alarm among trans Floridians. Despite the reassurance from Southern Legal Counsel attorney Simone Chriss that individuals with valid IDs need not panic, the policy change signals a concerning trajectory for the state’s trans community.
Is Florida’s quiet policy shift a precursor to a broader assault on trans rights? Stay tuned for potential legal battles ahead as the state grapples with the implications of this controversial move.