Guest Post: Michael Finch on why requiring photo ID to access the Legislature is a bad idea

By Michael Finch
When I heard that Senate Speaker Randy McNally was considering reviving ID checks and name tags to get into the Capitol, I felt sick to my stomach. As a transgender man, I know the stress that ID checks can cause folks in my community. And with legislation like the bathroom bill back up for debate, trans people need access to our legislators more than ever. 
ID checks can be a barrier to all kinds of folks - trans people, gender non-conforming people, undocumented people, folks who can't afford a photo ID...the list goes on and on. All of the concerns around voter ID laws apply to this situation as well.
I'm lucky enough to have my name and gender marker changed, but if I didn't, the prospect of having officers see an ID with an F and a female name on it, and then having to write that name on a name tag and wear it around the Capitol, would be enough to keep me from showing up. Being proud of your views doesn't mean you have to be comfortable showing an ID to enter the Capitol, and we should all be fighting against this attempt to chill free speech - whether it affects us directly or not.
Michael Finch is an alumnus of MTSU and active in the TEP Rutherford County Committee.

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