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Another Minority Locked Out of the Voting Booth

Another Minority Locked Out of the Voting Booth
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Did you know that among the countless victims of voter ID laws, trans-identifying people are particularly vulnerable to being barred from voting?

How Do Voter ID Laws Affect Trans People?

The problem trans people face relates to having a trans person’s gender realignment officially recognized.

If a state has made provision for gender change, and that is still not a given, there can be incredibly prohibitive stipulations that define many trans people, afflicted by high levels of joblessness and poverty, out of being able to have their gender change recognized.

This can include the sometimes medically unnecessary and costly requirement of genital change surgery, something that not every trans person wants or needs in order to live their life gender-aligned.

However, because of these restrictions, a trans person may not present with the same gender marker or name as would be indicated on their ID documents, even when they have an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria or GID. As such, they could be blocked from voting or may have their vote discounted.

The Williams Institute estimates that, potentially, more than 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote as a result of revised photo ID laws, something that 30 states have, in some form, instituted in order to supposedly fight voter fraud.

The National Center for Transgender Equality, together with GLAAD, has launched a PSA project called “Voting While Trans” which aims to explain this, an issue that many people may not have thought about but one that is incredibly serious for a minority whose voice already often goes unheard.

“New voter ID laws have created costly barriers to voting for many trans people. And much worse, the debate about voter ID laws have made even the idea of voting harder so many of us may feel discouraged from even trying to vote on election day,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling in a press release. “Our message is don’t let them scare you into giving up your vote.”

Keisling added, “Voter ID laws are dangerous. State legislatures have enacted them attempting to solve a fake problem. And as a result, transgender people — like students, veterans, low-income people of color, and older Americans — risk being denied ballots this year.”

Over the next couple pages, you will see PSAs featuring NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, writer and advocate Janet Mock, poet Kit Yan, performance artist Ignacio Rivera, and Charles Meins speaking out with personal stories, advice on how trans people can prepare for the new ID requirements in order to preserve their right to vote come the November elections, and how advocates can also help in the struggle to preserve this most basic of freedoms.

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56 comments

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2:13PM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

lets get the righties out of the office. they are ruining what america stands for, and they are sneaky and wish washy. tired of hearing about them honestly

11:25AM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

In Sweden, everyone over 18 and a citizen can vote. If you've lived in the country for more than 5 years and are of foreign nationality, you can vote in local and regional elections, but not for parlament. Everyone eligible get a voting card sent out a few weeks before early voting starts and you bring that to your local polling station on election day. If you want to vote early, you bring both the voting card and an ID. Voting fraud is rare, but it happens and last election a whole city had to do it all over again. Voting is voluntary and you can either vote for a person, a party, none of the above or put whatever on a blank ballot. The most votes cast for a made-up party usually goes to the Donald Duck party and the Duckists. Don't say Swedes lack humor!

8:46AM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

Pass this information along contact the FBI VOTER INTIMIDATION HOTLINE at 202-514-1888 !!!

12:04PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

America is supposed the land of freedom and equal rights. America has become an embarrassment to both.

10:19PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

What a farce this country's "democracy" is now. The founding fathers wrote the constitution to avoid the very things we, as citizens of this country, are faced with every day.

8:17PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Voting aka being allowed to choose our leaders should be our greatest right....we should be doing everything to assure every legal person can vote, not discouraging it........

EQUALITY FOR ALL PERSONS......live up to the dreams of our country's founders.............modernized......

7:59PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

My friend who's pre-op but otherwise transitioned, had not problem changing her license with her new name and proper gender

7:58PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Holy shit! Elaine said something that made sense for once!

7:12PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

I have been married for almost 21 years legally by the state of Georgia.

My spouse who I love like breathing easy, is transitioning.

Her name has legally been changed, her social security name has been changed, we're waiting on copies of her birth certificate to be changed. Once she has that, she'll be able to change her driver's license.

Once that happens according to my health insurance company, I'm no longer married, I have a domestic partner. Divorce by insurance.

The hate industry in this country has so very much to answer for.

3:17PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Look, if you are going to have a sex change operation then I think you need to prepare for more than what going to rest between your legs! And that means I'm sure you have already picked out a name. So just as you would in that manner, you would think one would be bright enough to have all documentation switched over prior to your transformation I mean for God sake...It's not like you haven't been doing your hormone treatments for a great length of time prior to surgery! you think you'd know enough to pay the $10.00 bucks and get the driver license changed over...Sheesh, maybe you were improperly evaluated?

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