Thursday, August 22, 2013

Transgender Evansville Resident Feels Discriminated Against By BMV

A 26-year old Evansville man, Ajax Holdin, was born a girl known as Alicia Holbrook. Ajax has started the process of transitioning from a female to a male through hormone therapy. Ajax sought to change his gender on his Indiana driver's license because he and his girlfriend, Amy, decided to get legally married. Although he was initially issued a driver's license identifying his gender as male, he was later contacted by the BMV and told he would need to switch his gender back unless he could provide proof that he had undergone surgery to complete the transition from female to male. The county clerk's office has already issued the couple a marriage license. That could force their marriage to be voided if the legal issue isn't cleared up. WFIE-TV in Evansville reports on an investigation launched by the BMV to clear up the legal issue:
We had our wedding ceremony last October," Ajax said.
But to become legally married, Ajax had to have documentation to prove he is male. So he went to the BMV to get a new license. 
"They gave me my driver's license as male and now they're telling me I'm supposed to have surgery, where it doesn't say anything about that on their website. I feel like they're trying to take all this stuff away from me, I worked so hard to get it, and now they're just trying to take all of this away from me," Ajax said. 
According to the BMV, Ajax needed to bring a signed and dated statement from his physician stating that he has successfully underwent all treatment necessary to permanently change his gender from female to male.
Ajax says the letter from his doctor, which he gave to the BMV, proves that he has underwent the treatment. 
The definition of "all treatment necessary to permanently change" is unclear. 
"A lot of people have been really great to us. I've gotten a lot of support. This is the first time I've felt discriminated against since I started the transition," Ajax said.
The BMV was requesting Ajax come back to the office and change his gender back to female. 
"I don't intend to get one that says female, that's for sure," Ajax said.
The article doesn't mention it, but I assume Holdin had his name legally changed before he went to the BMV and sought to get a new driver's license. It's probably an issued that needs to be clarified by the legislature, but I doubt the current make-up of the legislature will be too enthusiastic about providing a clear road map for changing one's gender. Indiana has a general statute, IC 16-37-2-10(b), under which vital information on a birth certificate can be changed by the Vital Statistics Division of the Department of Health. In practice, a new birth certificate can be issued to reflect the current gender of a person who has undergone a sex change. It is a good question that is being raised. What do you do if someone starts the process of changing their gender but never undergoes surgery to complete the process? Should the gender change be legally recognized in such circumtances?


Anonymous said...

That the Indiana BMV is a partisan branch of either party is a sham, and an embarrassment.First the BMV wasted resources to maliciously and pretty much illegally persecute a gay youth group over a stupid license plate and now this. Vindictive. I would gladly take the two-and-a-half hour wait in a Massachusetts BMV than deal with and pay fees to these moronic bullies. As a certain kind of majority constituency in Indiana,government employed social conservatives get a kick out of humiliating and making trouble for LGBT hoosiers, lacking the basic level of decency/sophistication to live and let live. It's bad enough that the standard State License plates have "In God We Trust" option that quietly makes your religious beliefs more easily deduced by anyone looking at your vehicle. Fellow motorists don't need to know what university I attended, what my beliefs are or are not, or where I make my donations -and the government should have no part in encouraging me to publicize these things. This young man and his wife need to do what is best and flee this state -not because the average Hoosier is ignorant but because this incompetent government and its lowest common denominator henchmen are hateful, indecent, and backwards. Pick on someone your own size!

Unknown said...

I don't see this as a violation of LGBT rights. Based on my understanding, this is a product of vague policies that resulted to some problems with technicalities. The BMV must have a hard time figuring out what to do regarding this since this is a rare case. And it's alright to be keen about the details in order to prevent illegal activities. You can read more about vehicle registration issues in Indiana through this website:

Anonymous said...

Requiring surgery is an outdated, prehistoric practice. Many transgender individuals live fully functional lives as the opposite gender without surgery. The cost of the surgery alone is prohibitive in many cases, as high as $24,000. Why should an individual be required to disfigure their genitals, at a cost of $24,000 to satisfy some governmental agency they are serious about gender change?