Most of the nation is unaware of it, but there are two states which will take your driver’s license away if you do not pay your student loans.

Alums in both Montana and Iowa, face laws that allow the state to revoke driver’s licenses if the individual is unable to pay back their loans.

This has obvious consequences for potential employment, as well as childcare, creating a downward spiral of self-perpetuating poverty.

The Montana Department of Justice says that those who default on their student loans face “indefinite suspension until student loan association notifies Motor Vehicle Division of compliance.”

The Department of Motor Vehicles in Iowa parallels this legislation almost identically. The law says that the State will “suspend a person’s driver’s license upon receiving a certificate of noncompliance from the College Student Aid Commission in regard to the person’s default on an obligation owed to or collected by the commission.”

But the group Jobs With Justice notes that in October 2010, there were also 42 nurses in Tennessee who similarly had their licenses suspended for nothing other than falling behind on their student loans.

The irony of all of this is that taking away the ability to drive makes student loan defaulters even more certain to fall behind on payments.

In effect, this is little different than debtors prison, which, in a misguided effort to deter loan default, actually perpetuates it

QT Says: How to Change Your Name And Gender Marker On Your Driver's License

For the next several weeks of QT Says we’re going to be doing something a little different! We get a ton of questions from our transgender patients, community members, and our fabulous QT followers about the details and how to’s of name change and gender marker change paperwork and processes. We know it can be a bit overwhelming (even when the outcome is exciting and good!) so we’re going to share all the details about the places and ways you can change your name and gender marker on various legal documents.

To catch up quickly, read our intro here. And, this info is also all in one place in an adorable little booklet for you to access for free here.


In New York State, you must visit a local DMV office in person to change your name on all DMV records and documents. (All this in person stuff. When are the robots finally going to take over?)

You will need:

  • Filled out form MV-44 to change your name on your driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card (the form is available online and at the DMV office).
  • Your current New York State driver’s license, or other proof of identity that displays your previous name and has a value of at least six points. (Please go to for a list of the acceptable documents for this crazy 14 point system you have to follow.)
  • Your official name change document.
  • To pay a fee of $12.50 for a new driver’s license or learner permit; or $5 for a new non-driver photo ID card. You can usually pay DMV fees with a credit card, cash, check, or money order.

So. Yes. You guessed it, you are standing in another line. Wait your turn.

But before you go, remember: You have to have your picture taken for your new license. So, haul out your cutest ensemble so you look appropriately smashing for the occasion.

Tell the staff person you’ve changed your name and want to update your license (or learner’s permit or non-driver ID card). Present all your information. The staff will look it over, take a new photo of you, and submit your request. Then they will return your court ordered name change document to you.

However, you will have to surrender your current driver’s license to the staff, and in its place you will receive a temporary paper driver’s license. Your new license or ID will be mailed to you. (All of this information is available at

NOTE: Surrendering your license can make it difficult to do things that require a photo ID, like being carded to buy alcohol or travel on a plane. Keep this in mind and plan accordingly!

If you own a vehicle — car, motorcycle, spaceship — you will also need to change your name on your vehicle registration and title. To change your name on a registration document and a title certificate, you must bring the registration document and the title certificate that display your previous name. Requirements for Vehicle Registrations and Title Certificates can be found at:

You may decide to change your name and your gender marker with the DMV at the same time, or you may decide to do them at different visits depending on your circumstances.


You will need to complete form MV-44 (Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card). You can find this form online or at the DMV office.

Then bring the form MV-44, your current New York State license or non-driver’s ID card, and “proof of the sex change” to a DMV office in person.

“Proof of a sex change” for the DMV is a written statement from a physician,

a psychologist, or a psychiatrist that is printed on letterhead. (See an example online at PPSFL.ORG/transgender). You should ask your physician to use this letter and not give additional personal health information that is not required. The statement must certify your gender — the new one you’re trying to adjust your documents to match, male or female. (Yes, ye olde binary. New York State still says your gender must be one or the other on your license.)

There is a fee of $12.50 to make this change. The DMV office will issue you a temporary paper document that does not have a photo, and will not give your old license back to you. (This may make it difficult to travel by plane or buy alcohol or do any activity where an individual would be carded or needs a photo ID, plan accordingly.)

Your new license will arrive by mail. For more information, please go to: documents

You can also refer to a state by state guide about driver’s license gender marker change from The National Center for Transgender Equality:
Judge Tells Trans Man To 'Pick A Name I Can Live With'

A judge from the state of Georgia has refused to allow a transgender man to change his name unless he chooses a gender neutral or unisex name.

Earlier this year Andrew Baumert filed a petition to have his name legally changed from his birth name to Andrew.  Court records show that Andrew provided all of the relevant and correct documents necessary for the change, yet Judge J. David Roper denied the request less than 10 minutes into the hearing.

Roper stated his reason for denying the change as being that Andrew is too masculine a name, and that it may confusing or misleading to other people.  Whilst there are exceptions in which a court can deny a name change, such as a lengthy criminal record or if they believe that someone is trying to defraud creditors, but there is no legal standing to deny a petition based on the ground of gender dysphoria.

Court records have shown that Roper told Andrew that he would be fine allowing the name change if a gender neutral name was chosen.  He said, ‘I can live with Morgan, Shannon, Shaun and Jamie’.

Andrew has since approached civil rights organisations for assistance with this case and has gone on to describe the incident as 'humiliating’ to the press.

'It was humiliating and insulting to be told by the court that I would not be able to change my name legally when I’m already known as Andrew by my family, my friends and my community.  I work in labs all day, but it doesn’t take a scientist to know that the judge’s ruling was based on sexist opinions about 'appropriate’ names.’

This is not the first time that Roper has denied a trans man’s petition to change his name legally, however, as in the past he has refused to allow a trans man to change his name to Rowan.  At the time Roper denied this change, which also met all of the legal requirements, on the grounds that he believed it could 'offend the sensibilities and mores of a substantial portion of the citizens of this state.’

Trans teen takes on the DMV and wins the right to wear makeup.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

Sociologists are interested in studying how our institutions — in addition to our ideologies and interactions — reflect social norms in ways that tend to reproduce the status quo. A great example happened recently in South Carolina. In this case, the institution is the Department of Motor Vehicles, the norm is that boys and men don’t wear makeup, and the case is Chase Culpepper, a male-bodied trans teen who wanted to wear makeup in her driver’s license photo.

The officials at the DMV told her that she wasn’t allowed to wear makeup in the photo because it would be a “disguise.” As reported by NPR:

The department… cited a 2009 rule that prohibited applicants from “purposely altering his or her appearance so that the photo would misrepresent his or her identity.”

They told Culpepper to take off her makeup or go home without a license. She did what they said. She shared these before and after photos with the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, who shared them with the public.

It’s hard to defend the idea that somehow makeup distorts a man’s identity, but not a woman’s. It has exactly the same illusory power on a female face as a male one; that’s exactly why women wear it. The DMV’s policy did nothing, then, to help it do its job, it only served to press citizens of South Carolina to conform to the gender binary, at least as far as their primary form of identification went.

With the help of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Culpepper sued and the DMV settled. As part of the settlement,

[they] agreed to change its policy to allow people seeking drivers’ licenses to be photographed as they regularly present themselves, even if their appearance does not match the officials’ expectations of how the applicant should look. The department also promised to send Culpepper a written apology and train its employees in how to treat transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals in professional settings.

This is what institutional change looks like, at least potentially. Thanks to Culpepper and her advocates, the South Carolina DMV is a little bit less gender binary than it was before.
Despite strict voter ID laws, Alabama is in the process of closing 45 of 49 driver's license offices
By Jen Hayden

Alabama is taking driving as a “privilege, not a right” very, very seriously.

If you’re going to need a driver’s license in Alabama, you’re most likely going to have to figure out a way to get to one of only four driver’s licenses offices in the entire state:

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said budget cuts will result in closing driver’s license offices across the state.

The agency said the cut will be in phases, with 33 offices closed during the first wave.

In January 2016, a further 12 offices will close. By March, all but four offices in the entire state will shut their doors.

The offices that will remain open, ALEA said, are Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, and Birmingham.


Perhaps most frightening about these closures is the effect it will have on voting in Alabama, where a conservative legislature passed a law in 2011 which requires a photo ID to vote. Alabama has already been on a steady decline (41% in November 2014) and these closures certainly won’t help to bring those numbers up.

Intended or not, these office closures and the strict voter ID law will have an effect on government, policy and even safety (more people like[ly] to drive without a proper license) for a long time to come.


10:12 AM PT: Is this merely an empty threat because of cuts to the department’s budget? Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier is appealing to residents to contact their legislators:

Collier said lawmakers tell him they’re not hearing from voters about the budget shortfall. He urged residents to call their legislators before they end up standing in lines for hours.

“I’m a former legislator, so I get it,” Collier said. “Tax votes are hard. But they are elected to lead.”

And if you want to contact your representatives in the Alabama State Legislature, here you go:

Members of Alabama House of Representatives

Members of Alabama State Senate