Two weeks ago, I went to the DMV to update my name and gender marker on my driver’s license. This was my second attempt at doing so, having been turned away the first time because they disliked one of my documents. This time I was completely prepared with plenty of alternative documents, just in case. Even with all this preparation, the DMV experience was atrocious and I didn’t get the correct information on my license.
The DMV experience wasn’t great, to begin with. I had to bring 5 documents with me: a birth certificate, social security card, two proofs of address, and the legal name change order. The problem was that half my documents had my new name and half had my dead name. The name change order explained this discrepancy, however, she set that aside without looking at it. For nearly 20 minutes, she looked through the documents again and again comparing the names without ever asking me why they were different. Only after flipping through these documents, again and again, did she finally look at the name change order, at which point she looked at me and said “well that explains it” and finally started entering data.
To make matters worse, once she realized I was trans, she stopped gendering me correctly. Up to this point, she had exclusively gendered me female. However once she saw the name change order, she never gendered me correctly again. Being misgendered sucks at any time, but something about it being so blatant and intentional definitely made it feel worse. It was completely unnecessary, especially since I had passed up until that moment.
My state mails the license to you, so it took two more weeks for me to get my license. I finally got it a few days ago and I am quite upset. They changed my name on the card but not my gender marker, so it still says male. I listed myself as female on the application and put that I wanted it to say female on my new card. My state doesn’t require any documentation for a gender change so there is no reason it is not correct. When they made me confirm the information for the card, I even checked to make sure that they had listed the gender as female. I can’t even fix it easily, I have to wait 90 days and then go back to the DMV to get another license issued. I went through being mistreated for nothing and now I have to go back.
The DMV not changing my gender marker is actually a significant problem besides just not Being correct. One of the key reasons for updating my license was that it was needed to update other documents. The incorrect gender marker does not affect some of these places, my bank will change the name even if the gender is wrong. However, it does matter for a very important document, my birth certificate. The state that issued my birth certificate will update my name and gender if I can provide a driver’s license with the new information. Because the gender marker was not changed, I can now only change my name on the birth certificate. This at a minimum pushes back updating my birth certificate by another 90 days, possibly longer if I can’t get an appointment at that time.