In D.C., legislators are in preparation to pass a bill which would help transgender people immensely. The new law would make it substantially easier to obtain a new birth certificate; one which reflects a change in name and gender identity.
In order to make a change in identity on a birth certificate, transgender people have to jump through hoops to do so. First they must undergo sex change surgery. It takes tens of thousands of dollars to obtain a sex change operation and once a person has undergone transition they must make a public announcement of name change through the local newspaper. That is just the first step.
In addition to a string of other requirements, they must also make (and pay for) a court hearing in D.C.; all of this time, energy, and funds just to be perceived as the gender they are.
However, in order to gain access to a number of laws and privileges, it is critical for a person to have a birth certificate which accurately displays their name and gender.
This change in process, “is vital becsuse the current birth certificate name [and gender]change process creates multiple barriors for transgender people” said Social Policy Organizer at D.C. Trans Coalition (DCTC), Andy Bowen, in an interview with 429Magazine.
She continued to explain the importance of this legislation for the community. “[It will] increase opportunity and a sense of well being for trans people” Bowen said.
If the new legislation passes, the process of obtaining a new birth certificate will be a lot easier and more cost effective. Bowen explained that transgender individuals will no need to get a court order nor will they need to have undergone surgery (only a note from a medical professional stating that the person is in the process of transition) would be required before obtaining a new birth certificate.
In addition to an easier process, a new birth certificate will be issued rather than a change in the old one. Amended birth certificates provide evidence of transition which could subject the individual to discrimination; a new birth certificate is simply cleaner.
“I’m proud that we are doing this during pride week. It’s a time when we recognize equality among all District residents.” D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells said, reported NBCWashingon.
This bill is scheduled to be seen by the D.C full Council in a few weeks, and seems likely to pass.