DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a group of transgender people against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Six transgender people living in Michigan filed the lawsuit in May with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. reports that the lawsuit argues the residents’ constitutional rights to privacy are being violated by a state policy that makes it difficult or impossible to change the gender recorded on their driver’s licenses.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds ruled Monday that the privacy issue was valid and declined to review the others.

Tina Seitz of Macomb County transitioned and spoke to WWJ’s Charlie Langton in a November interview.

The Secretary of State’s ruling says that since Tina hasn’t had the full surgery to remove male genitalia, she is a man.

But she lives as a woman. “Going through airport lines and security and just producing a driver’s license just to show who I am (is difficult),” she told Langton.

Jay Kaplan with the ACLU says Michigan’s requirement that the surgery happens before a driver’s license can reflect a different gender is unique to the state.

“Michigan is the only state in the country that has this requirement to change the gender on a driver’s license,” she said. “The majority of states have no requirement that relies upon surgery.”

The Secretary of State’s office requires the information listed on a person’s driver’s license to match the information on the applicant’s birth certificate.


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