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Washington D.C. Transgender Law Allows For Birth Certificate Revision

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VINCENT GRAY
Washington Mayor Vincent Gray. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf) | AP

Late last week, D.C. mayor Vincent Grey signed into law groundbreaking legislation that will allow transgender individuals to seek revision of their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity, among other reforms.

JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013 and the Marriage Officiant Amendment Act of 2013, which passed unanimously by the D.C. Council last month, repeals a previous requirement that those seeking to change their birth certificate must undergo sex reassignment surgery. Rather, individuals who want to change their assigned sex in the eyes of the state now only need provide a written request and a signed statement from a healthcare provider.

The importance of this law cannot be understated, as requiring trans individuals to seek medical intervention in order to be legally validated within their gender identity has historically functioned as a rigid gatekeeping tactic. Despite the fact that those wishing to alter their birth certificate still need a signed statement from a healthcare practitioner, the choice of medical intervention is now no longer functioning as a force of regulation for D.C.'s transgender community.

In a statement before the signing, Gray said,

By signing the Birth Certificate Equality Amendment into law, my administration continues to meet the needs of all residents, so that they may work, live and thrive in safe communities, free from stigma and discrimination...We know that something such as a birth certificate not only validates the gender identity or expression of transgender individuals but it also provides them the opportunity they should have been guaranteed in the first place—especially around such issues of employment and housing.

Before taking full legal effect, the law must undergo a 30-day congressional review. It is named after JaParker Deoni Jones, a D.C.-based transgender woman who was murdered near her home in 2012.

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