NBC News reported that transgender people are disproportionately affected by strict voter identification laws, especially in the South.
NBC Out reporter Jo Yurcaba documented how one transgender person in Nashville, Tennessee, felt threatened when flagged by ballot workers because the gender listed on identification documents didn’t match the person’s current appearance when the person tried to vote in 2016.
“I had to out myself as transgender,” said Henry Seaton, who claimed that admitting to being transgender could be “brutally dangerous, especially where I was living, which is a conservative suburb.”
Seaton, who is a transgender justice advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, went on to say the voting experience at the Nazarene church was dehumanizing.
“It’s not just embarrassing, but it’s terrifying to have to do that — to try to read the room and see, like, are they going to kick me out?” Seaton added. “It can be really dehumanizing to have your whole identity nitpicked just so that you can cast your ballot and have your voice be heard.”
A transgender activist told NBC News that it is expected transgender people will be harassed by poll workers and other voters when they go to vote this year.
“People who might be inclined to harass marginalized voters at the polls are more aware of trans people’s existence,” said National Center for Transgender Equality policy director Olivia Hunt. “So I expect that we’re going to hear more stories of trans people being harassed, whether by voters, poll workers, poll monitors or other folks who are present during the election.”
A report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that about 200,000 transgender people could be restricted from voting because they don’t have identification that matches the identity that they outwardly present.
“We hear stories from voters after most elections that they were challenged at the polls because their driver’s license or other ID didn’t match their current appearance or that the name that was on it did not match in the poll worker’s mind the gender presentation that they had,” Hunt explained.
Here’s video of the full report from NBC News:
How Stricter Voter ID Laws Disproportionately Impact Trans Voters