Maryland Becomes 7th State to Modernize Birth Certificate Access
Maryland’s modernized birth certificate gender marker policy becomes law by default on June 3, 2015. The law will take effect on October 1, 2015. After passing the state legislature nearly 30 days ago, Maryland joins six other states and the federal government in removing burdensome and unnecessary barriers to obtaining a birth certificate that reflects who transgender people are.
Maryland’s previous birth certificate gender change policy required a court order and proof of sex reassignment surgery in order to change the sex listed on a birth certificate. With this bill, individuals can now update the sex listed on their birth certificate by submitting a letter from a licensed medical provider stating that the individual has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. This victory aligns Maryland with other states that have modernized their birth certificate policies (CA, OR, VT, WA, NY and DC), and several other states are currently considering similar bills.
This action is part of a greater trend of removing outdated requirements, such as surgery and court orders, from the gender marker change process. The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has worked hard over the years to modernize gender marker change policies with various federal government agencies, and as a result individuals have greater access to updating the gender marker on their U.S. Passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and records with the Social Security Administration.
Gender marker change policy updates are crucial to the lives and well-being of transgender individuals in the United States. According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41% of transgender people live without identification that matches their gender identity. Living without updated identification can be a threat to safety, may cause problems getting a job or enrolling in school, and often presents hurdles to applying for housing and public benefits.
NCTE was proud to join many Maryland-based organizations that have worked hard to achieve this updated policy including FreeState Legal Project and Equality Maryland. If you are involved in modernizing birth certificate policies, driver’s licenses, or name change in your state, NCTE can help. Contact us as at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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