Another Minority Locked Out of the Voting Booth
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.
Voting While Trans — How Poll Workers Can Help
Voting While Trans — Kit’s Story
Voting While Trans — Ignacio’s Story
Voting While Trans — Charles’ Story
For more information on how you can prepare ahead of voting day, and how you can get help if you need further information, please click here.
Image credit: Thinkstock.