Mark Daley Director of Communications (Office) 202.639.6325 (Cell) 202.379.8318 mdaley@theTaskForce.org
Victory in California: Transgender Birth Certificate Bill Signed into Law
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 —The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the signing by Gov. Jerry Brown of a bill to make it safer and easier for transgender people to access legal name changes and identity documents that reflect their gender identity. The legislation (AB 1121) was recently approved by the state senate and was approved in the state assembly on May 9.
“This vital law does justice for transgender people in California,” says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Our national transgender discrimination survey shows pervasive bias against transgender people when trying to access basic services due to an inability to update their official documents. This law makes it easier for transgender Californians to freely live the lives we all have the right to have.”
California previously required a court hearing as a prerequisite to changing the gender marker on a birth certificate. Now individuals will be able to avoid going to court and apply directly to the Office of Vital Records to amend a birth certificate. Additionally, transgender people will no longer have to pay to publish a notice of the intended name change in the local newspaper for four weeks. AB 1121 will make this process easier, more private and more affordable.
The Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality’s groundbreaking study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, revealed that only 24 percent of transgender respondents were able to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. Only 59 percent were able to update their driver’s license. Presenting incongruent documents is a serious risk for transgender people. Forty-four percent of respondents reported being harassed, assaulted, or asked to leave an establishment when doing so.
California joins Oregon, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia in modernizing birth certificate statutes and policies, as well as the federal government’s consular reports of births abroad issued to citizens born outside the U.S., in the last 5 years.