For Vic Klafter, inclusive IDs are a matter of self-determination. That’s why Vic testified in favor when Sen. Megan Hunt introduced a bill that would have added a gender-neutral option to driver’s licenses and state identification cards.
“Being trans, especially in Nebraska, means I have to deal with a lot of gatekeeping,” Vic said. “Often these gates require significant guesswork to unlock.”
Currently, fewer than half of all states offer inclusive gender marker options on IDs and driver’s licenses, typically as an “X” to represent undisclosed or other. Nebraska is not one of them. Likewise, Nebraska’s process for changing a gender marker is overly complicated.
According to a 2015 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, only a small fraction of trans Nebraskans have IDs that match their name and gender. Almost one out of four trans Nebraskans without accurate IDs reported problems that resulted from their inaccurate ID, such as being denied benefits or services.
These concrete harms have a simple solution: allow people to have IDs that match who they are and make the process for changing gender markers more accessible. For Nebraskans like Vic, a clear, simple process would be a relatively easy step to start dismantling a system that burdens too many Nebraskans.
“Receiving legal recognition of my gender from the state on an official ID should be as easy as marking that I want to be an organ donor,” Vic said. “It should not be contingent on whether I want and can afford medical transition care and have access to a doctor who will agree that I am who I know I am.”
There’s a need for this locally and nationally.
On the federal level, progress is in sight. On President Biden’s first day in office, the White House website was updated to include gender-inclusive pronouns and prefixes. This first-in-a-presidency move to acknowledge and respect pronouns is a first step. Nationally, the ACLU is leading the call for the Biden administration to affirm trans and nonbinary rights by permitting X gender markers on all federal IDs.
Locally, the work continues. LB517, a bill introduced in 2021, could see votes next year.
As we celebrate Pride, now is the perfect time to tell your state senator that you want our government to affirm, respect and include all people, because honestly, Nebraska should be for everyone.
For a guide to current law and policy surrounding trans Nebraskans’ rights visit our site, transnebraska.org.