Amid national political attacks on transgender rights, Colorado’s State House passed a bill yesterday that would make it easier for people to change the gender on their birth certificate to the gender they identify with.
The Birth Certificate Modernization Act would alter the process for changing a person’s gender designation on their birth certificate. Under current law a person has to receive a court order from a judge for the registrar to issue an amendment to their birth certificate, and this must accompany a legal name change and proof of surgical transition.
This bill would change the process to make it less invasive for transgender people. The bill seeks to remove the courts from the process and instead require a healthcare professional to submit a recommendation for gender change.
An entirely new birth certificate would be issued with the appropriate gender reflected on it. The process would no longer need to be accompanied by a legal name change but would ensure that remains an option.
The bill also protects transgender Coloradans’ privacy by ensuring the registrar can contact the healthcare professionals in order to confirm the submitted statement. However the registrar cannot request any additional information.
One Colorado, a LGBTQ advocacy group, points out that transgender folks face numerous forms of discrimination if their gender identity does not match their birth certificate. These discriminations include being denied housing, jobs, access to healthcare, and the right to vote.
The bill, while making the requirements significantly less invasive, still requires some evidence of a physical transition, even though many transgender people choose not to undergo or don’t have access to the physical transition process.
One Colorado’s executive director, Daniel Ramos, released a statement upon the passage of the bill.
“Today’s bipartisan vote to pass the Birth Certificate Modernization Act brings us closer to eliminating one of the many unfair barriers that transgender Coloradans face every day. House Bill 1122 will make the process less burdensome for transgender Coloradans trying to update the gender on their birth certificate by matching our state’s law to current federal policies for updating the gender on a passport or Social Security card.Forcing transgender people to have surgery and prove their gender to a court fails to protect their safety and privacy, can cause significant psychological trauma, and creates cost barriers. This is the third time this bill has been heard in the Colorado Legislature. It is time that the Birth Certificate Modernization Act receives a fair committee assignment in the Senate, so that transgender Coloradans can live their lives openly and honestly.”
“What were hopeful for is that the Senate President met with the family of one of his constituents with a transgender child about how this bill would impact their lives. Were hopeful to get a fair committee hearing where we can come in and tell our stories about transgender people and their families and how this bill would positively impact their lives.
This is the third time this bill has been heard. This time it’s a bit more personal because he does have that story from a family in his district. We know that stories are incredibly powerful. Because he heard directly from a constituent about what the impact of this bill would be, we’re hopeful he will give us a fair committee hearing.”
The bill is now headed for the Senate, where the Senate President will assign it to a committee.