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ID Lawmakers Target Trans Community with Birth Certificate Bill

There are a number of bills in the Idaho Legislature this session aimed at the state's transgender population. (Kenneth Freeman/Flickr)
There are a number of bills in the Idaho Legislature this session aimed at the state's transgender population. (Kenneth Freeman/Flickr)
March 2, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- The Idaho Senate will decide on a bill that would bar transgender people from changing their birth certificates to match their gender identities.

The legislation received approval from the House last week despite a 2018 federal court order rejecting the same policy from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Kara Ingelhart, an attorney with the civil rights group Lambda Legal, was part of that lawsuit two years ago. She says birth certificates are used to access all kinds of documents, and transgender Idahoans had been subject to harassment before the 2018 court decision.

"It has relieved hardship and harm for all kinds of trans people who were born in Idaho who can now access basic services in the same way that any cis (cisgender) person born in Idaho can," she states.

Bill sponsor Julianne Young, a Republican representing Blackfoot, says the measure is important to health and safety in Idaho because gender information is used to track health trends in the state.

Ingelhart says young transgender people in the state don't feel safe.

"There's just a different level of fear amongst young people who can't really control where they live, and I've talked to parents who have been asked by their children, 'If a law like this would pass, could we move?'" she relates. "'Could we leave our state?'"

A number of bills targeting transgender communities are in the Idaho Legislature, including a bill that passed through the House last week banning transgender women from competing in sports that match their gender identity.

The Idaho attorney general has called this measure "constitutionally problematic."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID