Transpersons Should Not Have Their Driver’s Licenses Jeopardize

If your driver’s license shows a different sex than how certain people view you does that constitute fraud? The state of Florida is prepared to make that argument even if it leads to illicit sex discrimination.

Robert Kynoch, the deputy executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, issued a memo dated January 26, 2024 that said “establishing gender on a newly issued Florida Driver License is based on the supporting documents provided with an application.” Kynoch defined “gender” as a synonym for “sex,” which to Kynoch is determined by innate and immutable biological and genetic characteristics.

Kynoch explained the purpose of such a directive is that “a driver license is an identification document and, as such, serves a critical role in assisting public and private entities in correctly establishing the identity of a person presenting the license. Permitting an individual to alter his or her license to reflect an internal sense of gender role or identity, which is neither immutable nor objectively verifiable, undermines the purpose of an identification record and can frustrate the state’s ability to enforce its laws.”

The memo states that anyone who “misrepresents one’s gender, understood as sex” on a driver’s license constitutes fraud and subjects them to criminal and civil penalties, including cancellation, suspension, or revocation of their driver’s license.

Kynoch’s directive is consistent with the agenda of Florida Governor Ron Desantis. The governor and Republican lawmakers have passed a series of laws designed to restrain transgender persons in the guise of protecting children, though many such laws have nothing to do with the safety of children. Florida has passed laws banning gender-affirming care for minors, restricting the discussion of personal pronouns in schools, and restricting bathroom usage for transgender persons.

Gender Dysphoria Is Not a Choice

There is a misconception that transpersons simply prefer to identify as one gender over another. Instead, transpersons are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a known mental issue, by licensed psychologists. Gender dysphoria is the distress a person experiences due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. Simply acting out of expected social exceptions of one’s sex is not equivalent to having gender dysphoria or identifying as transgender.

Neither Sex nor Gender Has Any Relevance to Driving

Criminal fraud is an unlikely prosecution for transgender persons using a driver’s license mix-matched with their gender. Fraud as pertaining to driver’s license is defined in Florida as follows: “It is unlawful for any person to use a false or fictitious name in any application for a

driver license or identification card or knowingly to make a false statement, knowingly conceal a material fact, or otherwise commit a fraud in any such application.”

A transgender person has an honest good faith belief that they are a person of the other sex so they cannot “knowingly make a false statement.” Moreover, neither gender nor sex is a material fact. Sex and gender have no connection with driving. Men and women are both permitted to drive in Florida and every other state in America. The only relevant criteria for determining who can hold a driver’s license is their ability to drive safely and obey traffic laws. The fact that transgender persons identify as a man, or vice versa, has no relation to driving if both sexes/genders are permitted to drive.

For instance, it would be illegal for an 18 year old to present a driver’s license to a bartender that shows the 18 year old is 21. A person’s age on a driver’s license is a material fact because it is illegal for a bartender to serve alcohol to someone under 21. However, no one would care if a 21 year old presented themselves as a 24 year old because it is legal to serve either age alcohol. Likewise, there isn’t anything illegal that a man or a woman could do that the other sex cannot.

Sex or gender has the same relevance to driving as race or religion. No state could legally deny an African American from driving on the basis of their race or a Jewish person on the basis of their religion. Transpersons are no different and discrimination against them in this manner would constitute illegal discrimination on the basis of sex.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Sex Discrimination Claims?

It may be helpful to consult with a discrimination lawyer if you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to sex discrimination. Your attorney can help you determine whether age discrimination occurred, assist you with filing a claim with the proper agency, and file a lawsuit, if it becomes necessary. Conversely, if your business is being sued for sex discrimination, a skilled discrimination attorney can represent you in court and help defend you from the lawsuit.

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