Transgender Ohioans Sue for Right to Change Birth Certificates

Lawrence Kim
March 30, 2018

In her March 6 ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale said the rules by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare served no rational government objective and put transgender people at risk by forcing them to disclose their status when they present identification documents.

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of OH are suing the Buckeye State for a policy that prohibits people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, for any reason, at any time. Ray insisted Thursday she is "a woman" and called the lack of an accurate birth certificate "humiliating". She says she was embarrassed, harassed and threatened with physical violence after a human resources employee publicly noted the gender on her birth certificate does not match the gender on her driver's license and other legal documents.

OH is one of three states left-Tennessee and Kansas are the others-that still denies transgender people the right to amend their birth certificates. "In fact, government officials in OH know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers' licenses and state identification cards".

The Ohio attorney general's office says it's reviewing a lawsuit filed by four transgender people who want the gender listings on their birth certificates changed to properly reflect their identities. Ohio, Kansas and Tennessee are the others. "In fact, government officials in OH know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers' licenses and state identification cards".

Melissa Alexander, chairwoman of TransOhio, said advocates worked with state officials on the BMV change in 2009 and since have been trying to work with the Department of Health on the birth certificate policy.

Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato said the agency is aware of the lawsuit but doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio-based conservative advocacy group, said the ACLU's claims are "based in junk science". But he says the ACLU is sacrificing medical accuracy for political ideology. "Access to employment, education, housing, health care, banking, travel, and government services often depend on having documentation that accurately reflects a person's identity".

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the requirement prevents the three females and one male from obtaining a document essential to everyday living and subjects transgender people to discrimination and potential violence. Ray, a truck driver, has been unable to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement needed for a promotion because her mismatched documents were rejected for a required background check, according to the complaint.

"Ohio's refusal to correct my birth certificate causes me problems not only in the US, but across the globe", plaintiff Basil Argento said in a statement.

"This policy is not only archaic and out-of-step with the rest of America but also unsafe".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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