The Williams Institute has updated its 2012 study of voting issues and transgender people, The Potential Impact of Voter Identification, with more grim speculation about the disenfranchisement of transgender people.
The study posits that “(a)ccording to the National Transgender Discrimination Study, 27 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported that they had no identification documents or records that list their correct gender.” Query what “transition” means here if there is no legal record of attempting to change one’s sex. Does this mean that the person simply adopted a different name and different attire? Does this person have identification in the prior name?
With absolutely no foundation, the study also asserts that in the November 2014 general election, an estimated 84,000 transgender people who have transitioned will be eligible to vote in the ten strict photo ID states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi,
Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin) and that about 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people may face substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement in the November 2014 general election
These are numbers without any foundation in reality. Here is a video from 2012 where the National Center for Transgender Equality speculated (wrongly) that 25,000 transgender people would be disenfranchised.
Gender Identity Watch opposes laws that require voters to show photo identification. Until such time that state-issued identification is free and easily obtainable, the notion that votes must show state issued identification in order to vote deprives the poor of the franchise. This is wrong.
Gender identity is a secondary issue. The GLBT community has succeeded in defining gender identity as something that occurs inside of our heads. The government is not asking (yet) to get inside of our heads. They are asking for a photograph on identification that looks like you on a government issued I.D. card that matches your name and address on your voter’s registration.
The issue here is class, not gender identity. It is about income and the access to the goods inherent to those who are able to participate in the democracy versus those who are excluded. Income and skin color and surnames are the primary tools of exclusion, not gender identity.