New Jersey MVC Updates Gender Declaration Policy

(TRENTON) April 27, 2009 – New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chief Administrator Sharon A. Harrington today announced that customers who are preparing to undergo sexual reassignment will be permitted to change the gender status of their New Jersey Driver License to reflect the new gender that they have begun to identify with prior to surgery. The policy update reflects the understanding that sexual reassignment is an extended process for the transgender community.
“This simple update to MVC policy recognizes that many individuals begin presenting as their new gender long before surgery ever occurs,” said Harrington. “Our decision provides a more fair and consistent policy that will allow transgender customers to properly reflect the gender with which they identify.”

After working closely with the Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transgender(GBLT) community over many months, the MVC reexamined its policy on license gender markers and determined that it could amend it without negatively impacting the security measures already established under the Motor Vehicle Security & Customer Service Act, including 6 Point ID Verification. Under the policy update, a customer wishing to appropriately reflect his or her gender identity prior to surgery must formally submit a “Declaration of Change of Sex Designation” application, attesting to the gender that he or she considers themself to be.

“We applaud the MVC for its common sense and responsible solution to solve a problem that has been a Catch-22 for most transgender and intersex clients,” said Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey (GRAANJ) Political Coordinator Barbara Casbar Siperstein. “We expect the new MVC policy to set a standard for other states.”

Prior to the policy update, customers who were in the process of undergoing sexual reassignment could not officially change the gender marker on their license until the process was complete. The MVC would only change the gender marker to reflect the appropriate gender upon the customer providing an amended birth certificate or submitting medical proof of sexual reassignment surgery. In a number of instances, an MVC customer presenting as the gender he or she was preparing to become had already undergone a legal name change, yet their birth certificate reflected the gender with which they no longer identified. A legal name change was not sufficient proof for a change in the gender marker.

Contact: Mike Horan/John Santana