The PSAs, which feature NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, writer and advocate Janet Mock, actress Laverne Cox, performance artist Ignacio Rivera, Charles Meins, and poet Kit Yan, is part of a nationwide “Voting While Trans” campaign to raise public awareness about the impact new strict-photo ID laws will have on thousands of transgender Americans this November.
“New voter ID laws have created costly barriers to voting for many trans people. And much worse, the debate about voter ID laws have made even the idea of voting harder so many of us may feel discouraged from even trying to vote on election day,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “Our message is don’t let them scare you into giving up your vote.”
Getting accurate identification has been an old challenge for transgender people. Many states have overcome this problem by modernizing their laws on updating drivers licenses, making voting more accessible to transgender people. However, the passage of dozens of new voter ID laws and strict photo ID requirements will now make it much harder for many transgender people to vote. The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that as many as than 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote as a result of revised photo ID laws.
“Every day, countless transgender Americans face challenges trying to secure IDs that reflect their true identity, and as a result, experience hardships in fundamental freedoms including the right to vote,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “We all deserve to make sure our voice is heard. These new strict-photo ID laws will adversely impact thousands of already disenfranchised Americans, many of whom are transgender people of color, who may also be low income, elderly or have a disability.”
The PSAs are part of GLAAD’s a public education effort to encourage LGBT people and our allies to register to vote and to elevate stories about the challenges transgender Americans face when trying to exercise their right to vote.
GLAAD and NCTE urge transgender people to verify whether their voter registration information matches the name and address on their identification, and to consult NCTE’s “Voting While Trans” resources to find out how to protect their rights at the polling place. While it is not required in order to vote, transgender people who are able to update their photo ID are encouraged to do so.
Watch the PSAs at www.votingwhiletrans.org.