Here at Infinite, we check IDs all day, every day. Philadelphia's body art regulations state that clients are required to show us valid, government-issued photo ID before we can perform any service, from inserting jewelry to performing a piercing. We realize that for many, our asking for ID isn’t a simple request, and there are many prospective clients to whom we are forced to deny our services because they don’t have the required ID. This is why everyone here at Infinite is excited about the new PHL City ID program, which makes it easy for Philly residents to have a valid, government-issued ID. For so many reasons, Philly’s new ID rocks!
On Thursday, April 4, Philadelphia joined New York, Chicago, San Francisco and several other cities offering city-issued ID cards. These can be used for access to city buildings, museums, recreation centers, to interact with law enforcement and more. (You won't, however, be able to use the IDs to board a plane or as a primary ID to open a bank account.) This program intentionally sets up a way for many members of more marginalized communities in Philadelphia to get IDs to access services, including the homeless, the undocumented, and minors, in addition to enabling transgender or nonbinary individuals to more easily get an ID that reflects who they are. All this, at an affordable price too.
PHL City IDs cost $10 for adults, $5 for teens, and are free to those 65 and older. Residents must be able to prove their identities and addresses using a four-point system similar to what the Department of Motor Vehicle uses. The list of documents accepted to get the ID is extensive, and the guide is available in multiple languages.
Why PHL City IDs Rock
Many groups are praising the program, as it enables people from many communities to have access to services that they were previously denied. As NBC in Philadelphia reported:
“Today Philly has shown once again it is not afraid to do what is right for our communities," said Miguel Andrade, communications manager of Philadelphia-based Latino immigrant rights advocacy group Juntos. "The mere act of having a government issued ID means that for the first time many of Philadelphia’s marginalized communities are being officially recognized by our city. From undocumented immigrants, to returning citizens as well as members of the LGBTQ community, this is a huge victory and a step forward to further integrate into the fabric of our city."
This is great news for transgender and nonbinary individuals, as cardholders can also choose their preferred names and genders. As reported earlier this year in an article in the Philadelphia Gay News:
Amber Hikes, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, said of the program, “For far too long, binary gender markers have made it impossible for nonbinary people to acquire identification that accurately reflects their identity. Our nonbinary and gender-nonconforming siblings deserve true representation in their legal documents and forms of identification at all levels of government.
“To that end,” Hikes added, “Philadelphia’s new municipal IDs will have a nonbinary option for gender as well as a fourth option to not disclose gender at all. At the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, we are proud to take another step in affirming and advancing civil rights of LGBTQ Philadelphians, especially those who are nonbinary and/or gender nonconforming.”
The municipal ID will display the resident’s name, date of birth, address and signature, along with the issue date of the card and a photograph taken by the city. For those who are transgender, the photograph, according to its regulations, “must reasonably resemble” the cardholder. When it comes to answering the question of “gender,” the options will include “F” for female, “M” for male, “NB” for non-binary — people not identifying with either gender — and “X” if the person chooses not to include gender.
At a morning news conference on the day of the program’s start, City officials talked about the inclusiveness the ID brings, and urged all residents to get the card—even those who already have a valid driver’s license or other ID:
"Get your card," Mayor Jim Kenney said. "Because one of the main concerns we had, relative to this card and why it took a little longer, was that we didn't want it to be a scarlet letter for undocumented individuals... the more people we have get theses, the safer our undocumented residents will be."
While there are those who are critical of the new Philadelphia program—including those who state this will make it easier for the undocumented population to receive services they aren’t entitled to—we’re going to put the politcal discussion of this aside. We’re celebrating that a large section of the Philadelphia population now has access to services they were once denied—including getting pierced and/or tattooed. Rock on, Philly!
Click here for information on how to get a PHL City ID, print your application and to set up an appointment.