HRC Blog

Groundbreaking Birth Certificate Bill Signed by D.C. Mayor

A transgender rights bill passed unanimously by the D.C. Council last month has been signed by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray this afternoon.

The JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013 is being heralded as the “country’s most liberal policy” for updating birth certificates.

Many transgender people, particularly those who have not had sex reassignment surgery, face major legal and financial obstacles in changing their birth certificates to reflect their true gender identities. This disconnect between their gender identity and expression and their status on legal documents not only denies transgender people official recognition of their true selves but also exposes them to greater risk of discrimination and harassment in schools, workplaces and other public arenas.

The Task Force estimates that only 24 percent of transgender people nationwide are able to change their sex on their birth certificates due to restrictive laws.

D.C.’s new measure eliminates the requirements for surgery and a court order which make legal transition inaccessible for most transgender people. Instead, the District will issue new birth certificates to transgender people who provide statements from licensed healthcare providers stating that they have undergone “appropriate treatment” for gender transition.

Transgender people will also be exempted from previous requirements that they advertise a name change in a newspaper for three weeks.

The bill is named after Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who was murdered in D.C. in February 2012.

You can find a variety of transgender-specific employment, health and coming out guides here.

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