Thanks to a court agreement between the ACLU and the Illinois Department of Public Health, trans individuals will have a slightly easier time updating their birth certificate and obtaining correct identification documents. Details follow.
The new rule will allow transgender Illinoisans to change their gender markers without having to undergo genital reconstruction surgery. Unfortunately, folks will still have to provide proof of gender surgery to make the updates.
From the ACLU of Illinois' press release:
The agreement, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, resolves a lawsuit filed in May 2011 on behalf of three individuals who wished to change the gender marker on their Illinois birth certificates after undergoing gender confirmation surgery, but not the genital surgery the State was then demanding.
"This agreement reflects a basic understanding that the government should not be in the business of telling transgender Illinoisans what kind of surgery they need to undergo," said John Knight, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. "It creates a new opportunity to obtain an accurate birth certificate for many people — including a number of persons who have been denied new birth certificates over the years who have not undergone genital surgery, because they have no medical need for it, are concerned about its risks, or cannot afford it."
Under the agreement presented for approval on Wednesday, July 25th, the Department of Public Health would be prohibited from denying new Illinois birth certificates to applicants who seek to change the gender marker on them solely because they have not had genital reconstruction surgery. Additionally, the Department will promptly process and reach final decisions on all pending applications for new, accurate birth certificates. The State will provide individual notice to all persons previously denied a change in the gender marker on their Illinois birth certificate since January 2010, along with those persons denied a change of the gender marker going back to 2008 for which the Department has records. Finally, the Illinois Department of Public Health will publish a statement on their website clarifying that genital reconstruction surgery is no longer a requirement for obtaining an accurate Illinois birth certificate.
"Accurate identity documents are critical for life in modern times," added Knight. "These new birth certificates will accurately reflect who our three clients — and countless others — are, and avoid any potential embarrassment, hostility or harm from being outed to strangers as transgender. Although our ultimate goal is for the State to get out of the business entirely of dictating medical requirements for transgender persons who are seeking an accurate birth certificate, today's agreement represents great progress. It ends an especially restrictive surgical requirement that few were willing or able to fulfill."
(Source: Windy City Times)