House Bill 153, a new bill in Utah that will be in consideration for the legislative session next week, will potentially prevent transgender and intersex people from correcting their gender identity on identification cards, according to the Advocate.
The bill states that females have ovaries and "anatomical characteristics that appear to have the purpose… of providing eggs and receiving sperm from a male donor" and males have testes and the reproductive function of producing and delivering sperm to females. While this is technically true in terms of sex, gender and sex are separate entities.
Merrill Nelson, a Republican politician said that the bill is not motivated by "phobia" or "hate," but instead a way to "maintain the integrity of the birth certificate." However, Nelson works for a law firm that represents the Mormon church that I've recently written about. He also said that gender is much like race in that it is innate and immutable personal characteristic. Ralph Okerlund, the politician sponsoring the bill, said, “What is a physical fact at birth, gender, is put on the birth certificate and should stay at all times of life.” This ignores the fact that some people's gender identity doesn't match their biological sex.
LGBT activists say that this bill unconstitutional and discriminatory, as the definitions of gender in the bill are problematic and that many feel that the Supreme Court should not have the authority to approve gender changes on birth certificates.
Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said that the bill is also transphobic because Nelson hasn't made much effort to actually to get to know any transgender people and the unique struggles they face.
I don't fully understand how transgender and intersex people correcting their gender markers on birth certificates or other identifiers is anyone's business other than the people correcting it, so it doesn't make sense to me why people would try to legislate something like this. However, with the influx of anti-gay and anti-trans bills and laws in the United States, anything may happen.
Hopefully people will realize that this will only hurt people and not get this bill passed.
h/t: The Advocate