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Transgender Birth Certificate Bill Advances

GRAPHIC: The Birth Certificate Modernization Act would streamline the process for changing the gender on a birth certificate, bringing Colorado up to date with federal policies. Graphic credit: Devin Murphy/Wikimedia Commons.
GRAPHIC: The Birth Certificate Modernization Act would streamline the process for changing the gender on a birth certificate, bringing Colorado up to date with federal policies. Graphic credit: Devin Murphy/Wikimedia Commons.
April 7, 2015

DENVER - Changing your gender could get a whole lot easier in Colorado, at least on paper.

Last week, the Birth Certificate Modernization Act cleared the House Health, Insurance and Environment committee. The new law would bring Colorado up to date with federal policies by streamlining the process by which Coloradans can change the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Dave Montez, executive director of One Colorado, says the measure would help clear away one of the many barriers transgender Coloradans face every day.

"Every transgender person is someone's son or daughter, and they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect," he says. "Someone whose birth certificate doesn't match their gender is at risk for being denied housing, a job or even the fundamental right to vote."

Montez says the bill would make updating a birth certificate less invasive. Under current law, a transgender person must undergo surgery and appear before a judge to prove their identity. The new law would only require a note from a health professional saying the gender change was appropriate.

Opponents of the bill say the proposal could lead to child abuse or fraud. Montez says those kinds of comments are an attempt to frame the conversation about transgender equality in a dishonest and dehumanizing way.

"It's designed to drive up fear and confusion, and take our state backward," he says. "Transgender Coloradans and their families, like the ones who testified, deserve to be treated better than that."

The proposal's next stop is the Democratic-controlled House for debate. If it clears the House, it could move to the Republican-controlled Senate later this month.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO