DOT Eases Driver’s License Changes for Transgender Iowans

Oct 4, 2017

Transgender Iowans who want their sex designation changed on their driver’s licenses will now have clearer guidelines, under proposed rules at the Iowa Department of Transportation.    

Currently, a person born in Iowa who undergoes a sex change can present medical records to the Department of Public Health, get their birth certificate updated, and then present that to the DOT.      

But some states don’t update birth certificates for transgender people.          

We thought every state had a similar process. -DOT Dir. Mark Lowe

Under the new rules, a driver born in another state but seeking a drivers license here can present the medical records directly to the DOT instead of to the Department of Public Health.

“We will provide the same standards,” said DOT Director Mark Lowe.   “You just have to have your physician provide what you would provide if you were an Iowa resident seeking to change their birth record.”

Lowe says his agency worked with the Iowa Department of Public Health to make sure the requirements are consistent.     

When rules were originally drafted to accommodate transgender drivers, Lowe says the department was surprised to find that not all health departments across the country provide updated birth certificates for 

Iowa Department of Transportation Offices, Ames, Iowa
Credit Iowa DOT

transgender people.

“We thought that every state had a similar process as Iowa did,” Lowe said.

Lowe says the number of requests to change the sex designation on the Iowa driver’s license is low. 

He says an earlier version of the rules allowed a  court to intervene for a driver born out of state, but he says that created unanticipated legal problems.  

The proposed rules will be presented to the Iowa Transportation Commission at its meeting in Ames on  Monday.   

The legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee will review the proposed rules at its meeting on October 10.  

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