On April 19th, 2017, history was made at Chicago’s City Hall when the City Council voted 44–4 to approve the Municipal ID ordinance. Center on Halsted’s Vanessa Sheridan, Director of Transgender Relations and Community Engagement, was there to represent our organization, show support for the transgender community, and bear witness to the event.
This Council vote was historic because the Municipal ID program will benefit and positively impact the lives of many Chicago residents, including those communities that often have difficulties obtaining other government-issued IDs, such as the homeless, young people, seniors, undocumented immigrants, persons with disabilities, and the re-entry community.
Also, and of utmost importance to the transgender community, the Municipal ID program will allow transgender and gender non-conforming Chicagoans to self-attest their gender. In other words, Chicago transgender and gender non-conforming persons will now be able to access a legal ID card that carries their preferred, self-identified gender marker.
A Municipal ID card will be accepted by all City departments as a proof of ID. The ID card will provide Chicago residents with a form of legal identification that can be used to connect Chicago residents with City services and programs. The goal of the program is to reduce barriers, increase access to opportunities, and empower Chicago residents to interact with the economic, social, and cultural life of our City.
Major municipalities across the nation, including San Francisco, Detroit, and New York, have already implemented Municipal ID programs which have proven to be highly successful. Chicago residents should expect to experience the same positive results as these other cities. For a number of underserved communities, including the transgender community, Chicago’s Municipal ID program will have a powerful and positive impact.